McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says the impact of Formula 1’s new budget cap will take some time to equalize the grid after it is introduced in 2021.
On top of new sporting and technical regulations coming into force just over a year from now, there will be financial regulations for the first time that will restrict teams to an annual budget of $175 million with certain exceptions. While that will cut the spending of the top three teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – and both McLaren and Renault are likely to run at the budget cap, Seidl warned against expectations of an immediate impact on the pecking order.
“100% (it will take time),” he said. “The big teams are not just there because of having more money, they simply do a better job compared to us. The budget cap is important as it’s the only chance to have a level playing field in the future. But for sure it will take time before the budget cap washes out.
“It’s not a secret we’re in favor of the regulations – we supported FIA/FOM a lot; it’s the next important milestone on our way back.”
Seidl says the timing of the budget cap is not such a big issue, despite it only being enforced from 2021, allowing teams to spend whatever they want next season in preparation for the new regulations and potentially being able to lock in any advantage.
“In terms of the big three teams getting a head start by putting more resources (on 2021) in 2020… as I said before, they do a better job now, so they will do a better job in 2020, which gives them an automatic head start.
“Still, there are limitations in place on the wind tunnel and CFD side which allow you to only do so much, so I don’t think the biggest issue is that we don’t have a budget cap in place for 2020 already.”
McLaren can confirm fourth place in the constructors’ championship this weekend if it outscores Renault by seven points, and Seidl said doing so would allow his team to also focus even more on future work.
“As we come to the close of the season, our focus as a race team is on securing the fourth-place constructors’ spot, before fully switching our attention to 2020.”