Two prominent rival teams have acknowledged the need for Formula 1’s governing bodies to close complex loopholes in the budget cap rules.
Last week, the FIA downplayed rumours that, after Red Bull and Aston Martin breached the budget cap last year, two or three teams are once again at risk of penalties for exceeding the allowed spending limit per season.
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko now suggests that the rumours hold truth. “Apparently, three teams could have exceeded the limit,” he disclosed to motorsport-total.com.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also disclosed that he has had “long chats” with the FIA’s budget cap inspectors concerning compliance checks.
This comes in the wake of the FIA’s earlier release of a technical directive warning that a spotlight is now on intricate accounting practices between the F1 teams and their engineering subsidiaries.
Marko explained, “Red Bull is developing the (2025) RB17 hypercar, and there are people who work partly here and partly there. How do you account for that?”
“There are also people with us who no longer want to travel, who no longer want the pressure of Formula 1, so we can place them in such projects.”
He further emphasized the challenge of accurately calculating working hours, stating, “And if they do work in Formula 1 for a few hours, then you have to calculate those hours.”
Marko, an 80-year-old top official at Red Bull, criticized the lack of clarity and openness in the matter. “The whole issue of the cost ceiling is still too open to interpretation and too weak on the facts. That’s why there are still discussions going on.”
“It’s a topic that needs to be improved,” he added.
Wolff shares the sentiment that it is currently “extremely difficult” for the budget cap inspectors to assess whether non-Formula 1 staff employed by teams contribute to the performance of F1 cars.
“Many teams employ thousands of people involved in commercial and non-commercial projects,” Wolff highlighted.
He stressed the necessity of improvement for the new regulations set for 2026.