Johnny Herbert believes that the current $140 million cost cap should not be changed, despite calls for an increase from some F1 teams.
In a bid to control the increasing costs in Formula 1, a cost cap was put in place, which took effect in 2021. Having started at $145 million in 2021, the cap is currently $140m, and is set to reduce further to $135m in 2023.
However, some teams have started to call for an increase to this year’s cost cap, citing inflation and increased freight/transport costs as the main reasons.
Teams which have historically had bigger budgets, such as Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, are in support of a cost cap increase, whilst teams with historically smaller budgets, like Haas and Alfa Romeo, have rejected the idea.
Speaking to Sky Sports, three-time Grand Prix winner Herbert suggested that an unabating car development race has triggered the cost cap complaints.
“The whole thing was to try and level the playing field and get the cost of Formula 1 down, and that’s what it has done over the last couple of years,” said Herbert.
“The problem is when you’re trying to develop these cars, there is a big cost, which then goes towards that cost cap. If you outspend yourself, that cost cap is not going to be enough for you.
“So what will you want to do? We want to try and raise it and say, ‘Well, we can’t get to the end of the season.'”
Herbert: Teams must manage their development programme
Those against the idea of a cost cap increase believe that every team’s financial situation is still manageable.
Alfa Romeo Team Principal Fred Vasseur previously commented that teams should “turn off their wind tunnels“, whilst Haas boss Guenther Steiner has categorically ruled out his team missing races in 2022.
Herbert agreed that teams will still have the power to control their own budget over the course of the season, and called on the FIA to keep the current cost cap in place.
“To me it is a money management race. There’s many teams out there, like McLaren for example, who don’t get to that $140 million cost cap. They’re much lower, they might be at around $125 [million], $130 million. You just have to manage it,” Herbert added.
“Everybody knew how much money they needed for the season: $140 million. Now, you’ve got to be able to control that development programme that you’ve been doing throughout the season.
“I think it’s only a good thing. I don’t think it should be changed halfway through a season.
“I think it’s something that is obviously going to worry them because they know how close that the cost cap is coming very fast towards them. I think it’s just got to be managed in the right way.”