Zak Brown has warned that Formula 1’s plan to hold six sprint races this year could be derailed by the ‘absurd’ arguments used by some unspecified big teams to push for an increase in the cost cap to cover their competition .

The cost cap was introduced last year and its base number is increased from $145 million to $140 million this year, with an additional $1.2 million allowed for each event out of 20 (three races, adding 3 $.6 million) bringing the total to $148.6 million.

Last year, teams also received an additional $450,000 to cover participation in the three sprint events, as well as an allowance of up to $100,000 per sprint race in the event of damage.

But sprint races have not yet been approved for the upcoming season.

Given the relatively short notice, F1 governance requires eight out of 10 teams to support the proposal. Brown said “a few teams – one team in particular” were pushing for what he thinks is an unfounded increase in the cost cap to cover races.

Naturally, the biggest and best-funded teams would benefit from such a push, with Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari being the most obvious candidates. It is understood that Red Bull, which also owns AlphaTauri and therefore controls two of the 10 votes, was the most aggressive in pushing for this increase.

It’s one of the reasons Brown has criticized F1 comprising A and B teams, with some affiliated teams willing to vote against their own interests to support their larger partner team.

“There are constantly teams in these meetings who take advantage of it to grab land to increase the budget, even when what they’re saying doesn’t make sense,” Brown said.

“So if I focus on the sprint, which is just one example of many, when Ross [Brawn] presented that the first time they had done a study [saying] “We chose these tracks because we think they are good race tracks. But we also chose these tracks because we looked at the first lap incidents etc. and it was a lot smaller than you might think. think [in terms of damage]’.

“Then they present the results of the three sprint races, which are actually very consistent with the data they had shown us. dollars, which was just ridiculous and [with] no rational fact behind it.

“And then when you dispute those facts, then they say, ‘Yeah, but what if and what could and you have to have it just in case’. And you just sit there and say, ‘ It’s just nonsense’.

Brown said McLaren felt an allocation structured along similar lines to that of 2021 would be appropriate, adding that what Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali had offered “was not far short of that”.

But without an agreement, it will not be possible for the six planned sprint races to be added to the 2022 calendar.

Brown suggested it would make sense to move sprint races to 2023, which requires a lower voting threshold of five out of 10 teams, to ensure they go ahead next year.

This could be part of the bargaining process, especially since the lower voting threshold would allow half of the teams to attempt to pass the sprint races with no additional expenses allowed as a bargaining position. That could potentially lead to a deal for ’22 and ’23 with what Brown considers a more realistic allocation.

“We might not, which would be unfortunate,” Brown said when asked how to break the current stalemate.

“Voting for 2023 is a lower threshold. I’d rather we go ahead and vote on 2023 than we do now.

“They wanted to raise the cap by a disproportionate amount to what the sprint race costs. You need to be better prepared for damage from a crash, you probably need more wings, so increasing it is justified, but within reason.

F1 Silverstone Max Verstappen sprint race

“There is a lower threshold required to make it pass 23, so I would like us not to run into a situation where we vote in 23 where we have to get votes because we have passed a deadline.

“I think we should go ahead and set ourselves now for 23 without any increase in the budget cap, if you want to be tough on it.

“And then maybe there can be a compromise and we can increase it a bit when we go ahead and start in ’22. Or we skip 22 – and I think a few of those teams should explain to fans why there are no sprint races.

Brown thinks it’s important for F1 to hold sprint races in 2022 after last season’s success.

Although the sprint races had a mixed reaction from fans, the viewership was strong and it had commercial benefits, meaning it is seen as positive for F1.

“In the most recent presentation, Formula 1 showed us that sprint racing works from more spectators and more sponsorship, both of which are very good for all of us in the world. sports,” Brown said.

“We all have the same challenge, so you have more incidents and it’s the same problem that we all have. For me, part of sport is about taking on challenges, not about ‘I just want to solve it by going out my checkbook”.

“It’s like you have an injured player on the football pitch, you have to deal with it, sometimes you get more injuries than them. So too often I see this opportunity to ‘I’ll trade you a vote for a kind of a rule change.”

Motor Racing Formula 1 World Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Practice Day Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

“Then the rationale they use is just…they better call it what they see it because they’re not fooling anyone.

“I am extremely optimistic about the sport, but like any business or any sport, there is always room for improvement. And I will highlight the areas where I think there is room for improvement.

“I don’t think that should mask probably the most exciting Formula 1 season I can remember – record number of races, great racing, lots of sponsors to come.

“I think with all those things you’re pointing out the 10% surface area that the sport can improve, but 90% of it is great.”

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