Former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve has suggested stricter rules and penalties be imposed concerning the sport's cost cap.
At the start of the 2022 season, all F1 teams agreed to a hard cap of $140 million as the limit of operational costs in an attempt to level the playing field for all participants.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine that started in late February, however, played a major role in impacting costs across the globe. Subsequent inflation has hit the entire world hard and F1 teams have also been hit hard as a result.
During the 2022 F1 Austrian GP weekend, the authorities agreed to "permitting indexation at a limited rate of 3.1% [which takes into account the original 3% inflation threshold already set out in the regulations]."
This was not deemed to be enough by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who had previously suggested that as many as seven teams could miss four races in 2022 due to cost cap constraints.
Now, 1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has suggested a drastic measure for those who want to flout the rules set by the sport.
During an episode of the Dirty Side of the Grid podcast, the Canadian said:
“We need some proper regulations on what the penalty is for going beyond the budget cap. Right now, they can do a million things but who knows what will be the penalty taken out of the box? It is as if they decided from the start that they would go past it anyway and then argue.”
Villeneuve went on to add:
“It could be a financial penalty - who cares - or it could be a few points - ok - but it could also be exclusion from the championship. Which one would it be? Who knows? It is hard to imagine excluding a team if they go beyond by $1 million or $10 million, how would it work?”
The son of Canadian motorsport legend Gilles Villeneuve elaborated on his suggestion, saying:
“I think the best penalty would be that if you overspend by $1 million, you have to give $1 million to every other team on the grid and they are allowed to spend that even if it goes beyond their cap. So if the top teams spend $10 million more, they would be spending $100 million more and the smaller teams would get all that money. Then ok, that would balance it, that would be fun, that would be fair.”
"You signed it, stick to it" - Jacques Villeneuve not on board with Red Bull and Mercedes' calls to amend 2022 F1 cost cap
Earlier in the season, Jacques Villeneuve had not minced his words while criticizing Red Bull and Mercedes' calls for amending the $140 million cost cap set by the sport.
Speaking in an interview with Formule 1 Magazine, the Canadian called out Horner and his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff when asked about the cost cap situation. Villeneuve said:
“You signed, stick to it. They [Mercedes] have to patch up their car. But everyone agreed and signed up for it. And if flying then costs more, it costs more for all teams. Then just develop a little less. You agreed and then you don’t back down. The smaller teams don’t even touch it, why should they accept it? Alpine is a big manufacturer, has enough money but also sticks to it. Because they play by the rules, and they are still competitive too.”
It should be noted that Red Bull and Mercedes have not halted the development of their 2022 cars despite the rising costs as we head into the second half of the season.