Why the 2021 Formula One Budget Cap Failed to Level the Playing Field

Why the 2021 Formula One Budget Cap Failed to Level the Playing Field

With five races left in the 2021 Formula 1 season, the championship is down to two teams and two drivers. That, regrettably, is nothing new for fans of the other eight teams and 18 drivers. Mercedes and Red Bull have once again outpaced the rest of the competition this season, figuratively and literally. Only third-place Valtteri Bottas remains mathematically alive in the drivers’ championship, and even Bottas might be mathematically eliminated by the time the chequered flag falls in the next race on November 7 in Mexico City.

Why the 2021 Formula One Budget Cap Failed to Level the Playing Field

It’s been more than a decade since the third put group within the last standings was inside indeed 50 points of the winner within the F1 standings at season’s conclusion. In 2010, Ruddy Bull (Sebastian Vettel and Check Webber), Ferrari (Fernando Alonso) and Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton) all wrapped up inside 16 focuses of the championship. Since at that point, be that as it may, it’s been a one- or two-driver race with everybody else engaging for “best of the rest” respects. The average gap between the primary- and third-place driver within the last standings over the past 10 a long time is 127 focuses. A race win is worth 25 focuses (1 reward point granted to speediest lap of the race). You get the picture. That’s a noteworthy hole, for beyond any doubt. Over the last ten years, the average difference between the first and third-place drivers in the final standings has been 127 points. A victory in a race is worth 25 points (1 bonus point awarded to fastest lap of the race). You see what I mean. That is, without a doubt, a big disparity. With five races remaining this year, the difference between first and third place is currently 102.5 points. The chasm is on track to easily surpass the ten-year average.

Wait. Wasn’t this supposed to be the year when a team budget cap would bring the field closer together? Wasn’t this supposed to be the year when more teams competed for victories? Instead, it’s been business as usual, with Verstappen and Hamilton combining for 13 victories in the opening 17 races. Verstappen and Hamilton collided during one of the four losses. F1 will not be transformed into NASCAR or IndyCar anytime soon. Don’t hold your breath for a season in which five or six drivers are still in contention for the championship going into the last two or three races. It will take time for the mid-pack teams in Formula One to narrow the gap on Mercedes and Red Bull, according to two team executives who have grown accustomed to looking up at the megateams in the rankings. And there are some obvious explanations, according to Aston Martin and Alpine team principals. Take, for example, the 2021 automobiles. “These vehicles, the ones you see racing now, were originally conceived without a cost cap,” stated Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer. “Then, because to COVID, we froze (the regs) for this season, with the exception of some aerodynamic tweaks approved by the FIA. As a result, the racing cars are essentially the leftovers of’spend as much as you want.'”

The car for next year has completely different technical (regulations) and is being developed within a financial limit as well as a limit on dyno times and aerodynamic runs. As a result, I believe that this should bring competition closer together. Let’s wait and see what occurs next year; it’s not far away. I predict that by 2022, the field will have narrowed significantly.” The sport’s big three of Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari have had to tighten their belts due to the current team budget cap of $145 million (a cap with various loopholes and exemptions). All three are thought to have had budgets in the vicinity of, if not above, $400 million (actual figures have long been a closely guarded secret). Despite the budget cuts, those teams will continue to benefit from years of outspending the second- and third-tier teams by more than double. “They’ve already spent a lot of money getting the infrastructure in place,” Szafnauer added. “All of this has a significant cumulative effect.” “You simply keep adding to it—more simulation facilities, better dynos, better wind tunnels, upgrading the wind tunnels—it all adds up.” After that, there’s the issue of manpower. “If you compare us to other companies, we now have roughly 575 people and are growing,” Szafnaur added. “When we first started three years ago, we had 400 people.”

We’ve made a change. Mercedes-Benz employs between 800 and 900 people. So they have nearly twice as many employees as we do, plus all of the infrastructure that they’ve built up over time. “Now they have a limit on where they can spend their money and how much they can spend (in the future).” They do, however, have the infrastructure and human resources that we are still working on acquiring but do not yet possess.” Laurent Rossi, the Alpine racing director, admits that catching up to the big boys and competing head-to-head with Mercedes and Red Bull will be difficult. “The cost cap will be beneficial,” Rossi remarked. “Tremendous. However, the money invested over the last ten, fifteen years will not be immediately refunded. Those who have a better wind tunnel, simulator, and models will still have them at the start. “The difference is that (Mercedes and Red Bull) won’t be able to throw money at problems like they used to, spending twice as much money, as well as all of their brainpower and other resources. Still, (the cap) will aid in catching up because more teams will be given a shot, but there will always be a slight disparity. Perhaps by 2030, this will no longer be an issue, but in the meantime, it will always be simpler to be a Mercedes or a Red Bull.” Aside from the team spending cap, Rossi likes the sport’s new prise fund distribution methods, which were established by Liberty Media and ensure a more equitable share of the pie.

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