Formula 1 teams have not blocked the introduction of sporting penalties to penalise budget cap violations, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has said, contradicting a claim made by his opposite number at Mercedes.
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff said yesterday three teams had voted against imposing sporting penalties, such as points deductions, on anyone found to have violated the Financial Regulations which were introduced for the 2021 season. Teams are limited to a spending level of $145 million, with some exceptions.
“A large group of teams, seven out of 10 teams, voted in favour of introducing sporting penalties for financial cap infringements,” Wolff said yesterday.
“At the moment, there is only financial penalties. And three teams voted against it, saying we would take a financial penalty, but we don’t want to have a sporting penalty. That’s a bit odd.”
Wolff said the teams remain in discussion about whether to impose sporting penalties for budget cap breaches.
“I think the compromise that we have achieved now is to understand why that is and which regulations do they feel are incomplete or uncomfortable. The target that we have set ourselves is a couple of weeks to sort it out, and then everybody understands that financial cap regulation infringement should be seen just as the same as technical infringements in terms of sporting penalties.”
However Binotto insisted F1 has already agreed to impose sporting sanctions on anyone who violates the budget cap.
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“I’m sure Toto’s remarks have been misquoted, because he was also at the F1 Commission meeting and he knows that’s not how the discussion went,” said the Ferrari team principal. “In fact, the sporting penalties are already present in the Financial Regulations that we as Ferrari voted for in the [World Motor Sport Council] in 2019.”
Binotto said the recent discussions around the policing of the budget cap concerned what steps should be taken in the event errors are discovered in the paperwork teams submit to prove they have complied with the rules.
“What was discussed in the meeting – when anyway no formal vote about this topic was on the agenda – only applied to any possible procedural infraction, that is any eventual errors when reporting all transactions relating to the Financial Regulations, for which in fact, financial penalties are already in place,” said Binotto.
“We all agree that also in this case there should be sporting penalties in the event of a serious infringement, but we and others believe that it is necessary first to clarify any possible doubts about the guidelines, a task we are all involved in along with the FIA and which we hope will be completed as soon as possible. It is hoped that these clarifications and a subsequent new vote in favour of sporting penalties will hopefully take place before the end of May.”