McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes F1 is being “held hostage” by “checkbook racing teams” who have failed to understand the concept of what a budget cap means.
In 2021, Formula 1 introduced a leveled $145m cost cap to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to help their rivals try to compete on a fairer playing field.
This year it fell to $140 million, then to $135 million in 2023.
Brown now claims lobbying is taking place behind the scenes to raise the limit, with sprint races being used as an excuse. Sprint races were introduced in 2021 for three Grands Prix. This year, six races will be presented as sprint races.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto and Red Bull’s Christian Horner wanted the budget cap increased last year to account for damages suffered and general racing costs.
McLaren’s F1 2021
In a column on the McLaren website, Brown gives his thoughts on issues surrounding the budget cap by big F1 teams. He wrote: “We must continue to drive economic sustainability across sport. Some teams are still looking for excuses to raise the cost cap and win world championships with checkbooks.
“The continued lobbying by some teams to raise the cost cap for damages from sprint races is a continuing example of this. F1’s Saturday sprint race initiative has added new viewers and raised the profile of the sport to expand its global fanbase.However, these teams continue to demand an increase in the cost cap by an outsized amount of money, despite clear evidence that little damage was sustained at these races this year. last, in a thinly veiled attempt to protect their competitive edge from erosion.
“The current sport governance structure allows for a situation where some teams, to protect their own competitive advantage, effectively hold the sport hostage to what is best for the fans and therefore the sport as a whole. ‘accepting that a budget cap is in the interest of the sport and can’t give up their habit of pushing their way forward.”
The McLaren CEO explained how the cost cap has benefited them.
Brown added, “The combination of our talent and expertise with investment from our shareholders, partners and strong financial management has positioned us well for the next stage of our competitive journey. And our opportunity to be competitive has been enhanced by the introduction of the budget cap in F1.
“With the spending limit reduced to $140 million this year and $135 million next, the new financial regulations present us – and the sport as a whole – with a fairer framework to compete by reducing the inevitable advantage of spenders and better resourced teams.”
McLaren’s F1 2021