The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has recently endowed all F1 teams with an additional budget to bolster and boost the infrastructure of their respective factories. The level of financial aid is divided across the teams basing on their current ranking.
The leading teams are allocated an added $6 million, the mid-tier outfits get $14 million, while the four rear-end teams which include AlphaTauri, Williams, Haas and Sauber/Alfa Romeo, get the highest extra investment worth $20 million.
However, the additional financial provision isn’t seen as beneficial by all, as pointed by Bayer, who originally assisted in designing the cost cap and put forward the financial regulations while operating for the FIA. “I think the first question to ask really is do we do we have the money?,” he posed this thought when asked about the CapEx allowance in his interview with F1 Initiative.
The reason for Bayer’s opinion is due to the financial forecasting absence related to this extra allowance in the budget planning discussion AlphaTauri had with its shareholders. Bayer is apparently not in favor of this provision. “Because we haven’t forecasted any of that money when we went to meet the shareholders for the budget planning. So I have to say that I’m not really a big fan of it, to be honest,” he expressed.
Bayer was part of the original creation of the cost cap mechanism with an objective to balance out the competition. Hence, alterations made post the decision seem to unsettle him – “Now, I understand that sometimes we need to make adjustments, and we did. But it’s difficult to understand. Because you make a plan, you sort of focus on where you spend the money. And then a month later, everything’s changing and you’re like, ‘I made my plan. These guys maybe knew something I didn’t know.'”
While fellow teams Williams and Sauber could afford to utilize the CapEx investment, Bayer sheds light on how it’s not quite feasible for AlphaTauri to rake up the complementary $20m. “For us, it’s a lot harder, definitely,” he said. He also made a point relating to the top teams and fairness – budget constraints and their management were considered, but things took a new turn. “And now things are changing again. I’m not so happy about the whole situation,” he added.
Bordering on the issue of separate wind tunnel allowances which have been beneficial for Aston Martin and McLaren in securing new facilities, Bayer advocates caution. He believes that the new budget potentially forces teams to spend – the cap now setting a limit to the expenditure, subsequently determining the performance. He mentions the wind tunnel scenario of Lawrence Stroll as an example of unanticipated spending.
Bayer does, however, admit that AlphaTauri‘s Faenza facility can be enhanced given the funding appears. Unveiling his wish of having a significantly advanced simulator, he said – “I have a wish list, always. Probably, top of my head, I would go for a very, very nice simulator.”