The cancellation of the Japanese Grand Prix should allow the teams to benefit from an additional 1.2 million pounds thanks to some specific regulations that were introduced with the cost cap in Formula One.
Following the introduction of a cost cap earlier this year, some major teams had their backs to the wall after crashing their single-seaters multiple times. Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas following his collision with George Russell in Imola, Ferrari with Charles Leclerc smashing a chassis in Belgium or Red Bull, and Max Verstappen with his accidents in Silverstone, Azerbaijan, and Hungary.
Those big names of the sport are trying to squeeze everything they can out of the budget cap and will try to exploit any little dust remaining in their wallet to upgrade what they can on their car. Playing with the limits is however a dangerous game that can catch you at any time if you are not careful enough and this is what Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull are currently experiencing following their multiple incidents that all led to massive repair notes.
The budget cap allocated to every Formula One team for the 2021 season was pushed to 147.4 million pounds with 145 million pounds for the regular season and a bonus of 1.2 million for the organization of each event making the F1 calendar exceed the 21 race barrier. This year’s calendar was planned to host as many as 23 races, meaning a bonus of 2.4 million was allocated to each team.
However, with the recent cancellation of the Japanese Grand Prix and the FIA announcing the reduction of the 2021 calendar to a more reasonable amount of 22 races, a 1.2 million bonus ‘too much’ was allowed for each team.
Nonetheless, a technical regulation is covering this specific situation, stating that if the event was canceled less than 3 months before its original date, the teams were allowed to keep the bonus, to compensate for the loss due to the unforeseen cancellation of an event.
“If any Competition in a Full Year Reporting Period is canceled less than three months prior to the proposed start date of that Competition (or, where applicable, any rescheduled date), such Competition shall be deemed to have taken place in the applicable Full Year Reporting Period,” a clause in the Formula One regulation says.
The Japanese Grand Prix was scheduled to take place on the 10th of October, making the cost cap compensation rule appliable for the case. McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl already reacted vigorously towards the teams complaining about the cost cap and recently pointed the finger at this specific paragraph, talking about the unnecessity of becoming so much money to compensate for the little loss generated for the teams following the cancellation of a Grand Prix.
The German thinks the surplus will logically be reinvested by big teams either to develop their single-seaters or compensate for the damages caused earlier in the season.
“I definitely will not go in the direction that Christian is going, mentioning every second sentence the cost cap and how much it will be hurt by it by an accident on track. In the end, it’s part of the game we’re in. It’s down to us to manage the budget in the right way,” Seidl said earlier this year, protesting against Christian Horner and his complaints against the budget cap.
“We should not forget, which is why I think some of the comments are quite ridiculous, the mechanism that is in place, especially for this year with the budget cap at the moment, that with every race that gets canceled up to a certain point of time, the budget cap actually gets lifted because that can cause extra costs,” he added recently.
“In real life, it [a canceled race] triggers some extra costs but not a lot. So the benefit you get from that, and the increase of the cost cap already by that is already huge. It is bigger than any of the crashes we have seen so far this year.”