F1 team bosses share their thoughts on the resolution on CapEX situation especially for the lower half of the grid.
Amid the discussions about Concorde Agreement and or the regulations for F1 2026, an important discussion on CapEx has been going on as well. The debate was for teams spending on operational activities at its base related to infrastructure.
The overall figure of Budget Cap takes away the limelight but there is a Capital Expenditure limit for which Williams has been the major player to be pushing for it. The Grove-based F1 team is one which is lagging behind on infrastructure terms in recent times.
However, their plea didn’t gain support early on even though talks have continued on for nearly a year. But a breakthrough was achieved recently by the FIA and the F1 Commission. It divided the 10 outfits in three divisions of 3-3-4.
It is based on the results of 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons where Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari are on top followed by McLaren, Alpine and Aston Martin with the bottom four being Alfa Romeo, Williams, AlphaTauri and Haas respectively.
The compromise made will see CapEx increase for all three divisions, but the larger share will be for the bottom four F1 teams. For 2024, the increase for the first three teams is of $51m from the earlier discussed amount of $45m – which is an increase of $6m.
The next lot are getting an increase of $13m where they go to $58m, while the bottom four has a $20m increase to $65m. But this is only for 2024 as the CapEx will drop for the years from 2025 and 2028 for each of the three divisions.
The first three will then get $42m, the next three will get $49m and the final four receiving $56m. Beyond 2028, the idea is for a fixed amount across. The response to the 2024 increase is mixed still despite a resolution found among the F1 teams.
Here’s what few have said about it –
James Vowles: “So first and foremost, on the CapEx, some good news, from my perspective anyway: good work with all the teams has meant that we’ve managed to unlock an exemption in our favour of 20 million also. I’m pleased we got there with a resolution and it will help me tremendously in the start of our journey anyway. So there was agreement and good discussions that have been taking place since February. So part of the reason why you’re going to see a massive increase in our bill is we have CapEx to spend now, not perhaps the 100 I was looking for but a good step in the right direction.
“More importantly, when I was referring to before, about the teams starting to work together, and coherently, we’re there. We have an agreement on the table after six months that is sloped. So teams at the front will not get as much as teams at the back. We will benefit more, which is in line to a certain extent with the facilities. So that’s part of it. The second part of it is that there’s quite a large amount of change that we need to do within Williams. I’ve been very clear and open about that. Part of it is CapEx, for sure. Part of it is growth of the organisation and change in the organisation and part of it’s growth of the site. So when you put it all together, you’ll start seeing large, large numbers appear on the table.”
Andrea Stella: “Well, first of all I would remark it was a positive process, where teams and the institutions that led the process managed to find an agreement. For us, this is welcome news. We’re going to use the extra allowance and so I think that’s a good thing for us.”
Frederic Vasseur: “Yeah, I’m not really convinced that… First, if you asked your engineers if they want to get more, they will always say, yes, we want to get more. No, guys? It’s a normal process. And I think that we opened the door a couple of times to change into the cost cap regulation and this is very dangerous. But again, I’m coming back to the previous topic, that we have to keep in mind the situation of 2019. And it’s not because the business is going well today that we have to change everything and to come back to the previous situation. And I think we are taking every single opportunity to break everything and this is dangerous.”
Peter Bayer: “Yeah, I agree with Fred actually. Having been involved in the development of the cost cap, the idea was really to make sure that all the teams will either squeeze into a certain number or have a chance to actually hit that number. Now, on the OpEx we’re having inflation indexation, on the CapEx we have another increase and whilst in principle it’s nice, but currently we don’t have the money, so I have to try and find the money, the sponsorship. It’s challenging, because you’re making a plan and you’re deciding on your investment and then suddenly, within six months, regulations change and you have to go back to your shareholders in my case, and that was not as pleasant as it might look. No, but we’ll deal with it. But that’s probably my opinion.”
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