F1 Comission: Crucial votes on the budget cap and power units await


During the Hungarian GP weekend, there were some interesting activifies in the paddock. Toto Wolff, Frederic Vasseur, Otmar Szafnauer and Zak Brown showed up together in the FIA hospitality.

At this stage there are some important knots to untie to decide on the future of Formula 1, before a new Concorde Agreement is made.

A significant meeting of the F1 Commission (a body made up of F1, FIA and the teams) is scheduled for the weekend in Spa, July 28th.

These groups are usually represented by Domenicali, Tombazis and the ten team representatives respectively.

This where the proposals can be ratified by votes to be forwarded to the world council of the Federation for the publication of the regulations.

It is no mystery that the issue where the most concrete decision is awaited concerns the elimination of electric blankets.

Mario Isola recently explained to Formu1a.uno that “decisions must be made based on data and not on sentiment” adding that “after Silverstone we will draw a line and all together we will make a decision”.

The time has come for this decision. Tyre have now become the center of attention in light of some recent statements. Alonso complained about a random change in performance after the introduction of the 2024 specification.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team.
16.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Preparation Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

Pirelli indirectly retorted that, in reality,  the teams gave feedback defined as overall “transparent” regarding use.

It is a complex issue, since political movements or negotiations are often hidden behind such pressures.

Obviously, if there is something Pirelli would wish for, it is to confirm the removal of pre-heating of tyres.

There are two reasons for this – the first is that development began some time ago “doing everything necessary”, to solve this issue.

Therefore, interrupting it until a later date would essentially mean throwing away the significant engineering and technical work put into these regulations.

The second factor is having a significant technical advantage over a potential and strong competitor such as Bridgestone. The contract between F1 and Pirelli expires at the end of 2024 and it will time to see if a new agreement is possible.

After the technical approval of the FIA, the matter becomes commercial between F1 and the Supplier regarding the tender for the tyres. However, the progress of the discussions seems partially linked to tomorrow’s vote.

It at least seems there are some technical implications that will be of importance. Some teams seem to have a neutral stance, leaving room for discussion before making a final choice.

5 votes out of the 10 teams against abolition are enough to stop the process.

In an era of Formula 1 where there are almost no tests on the track, we are asked to supply an ever better product, and it is legitimate, but the concern shouldn’t be to please everyone.

The problem is to agree on priorities, and naturally that these go hand in hand with safety. For example, having a tyre that warms up after a few corners means finding yourself more likely to suffer to overheating.

Technicians have to react to these characteristics for 2024 – to ensure the tyres start working in a lower temperature range. Aerodynamicists need to know early on the stiffness of the casing profile when cornering.

In addition, there remains the difficulty in carrying out tests on the track that are defined as appropriate, which confirm or deny the load simulations.

Commercially, Pirelli has become rather structural also in terms of sponsorships. “It would be quite surprising if the Japanese manufacturer’s offer were on a higher level,” said a neutral source.

It is clear that Friday’s vote, also in this sense, appears anything but trivial and a decision cannot be postponed. Vice versa, in case he wins opposition to elimination, an interesting scenario could open up regarding a less obvious Pirelli-Bridgestone fight.

However, in the case of a change, a big concern for some teams would be: “who supplies the car with which they develop the product?”. Meanwhile, Aston Martin and McLaren will carry out their final tests on the 2024 tyres before the summer break on 1 and 2 August.

Another story concerns the power units, Alpine is apparently pushing for greater fairness after the reliability changes which according to the transalpines have been used by engine manufacturers to find more hp.

In reality, Ferrari already had important performances in 2022 but then due to breakdowns it was no longer able to use the available power.

In general, everyone has improved hybrid efficiency also thanks to important software updates.

Currently, it appears that Ferrari and Honda have a similar power unit in terms of maximum performance, with a few hp on Mercedes and around 10hp on Alpine – which is equivalent to 2/3 tenths of a gap.

In all of this, new rumors are emerging on the issue related to budget cap violations. Although the FIA ​​has clarified that there are currently no definitive results of the financial analysis process, more than one voice in the paddock fears that all is not so smooth.

As we see, the Cap budget has a profound effect on technical development. The teams weigh every gram of every choice, the work in the simulations and in the gallery is limited.

For this reason, the main concerns are that certain costs especially regarding engineering personnel have been partially diverted, using external consultancy activities. Simply put, if an external engineer is paid 25% of his time by the team but then used for 50%, how could this be controlled?

It is enough to multiply the potential engagements of technicians officially located on other projects – outside F1 – to have a financial impact.

In any case, the issuance of the financial regularity certificates is expected sooner than last year.

Author: Giuliano Duchessa

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang