Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is happy to support Sprint races being part of Formula 1 in 2022, but says it won’t help bigger teams gain a budget cap advantage as a result.
McLaren’s Zak Brown accused some of the biggest teams of holding the sport hostage earlier this month by voting against certain rule changes, and asking for a $5million budget cap increase to cover six Sprint events this coming season. With a large majority needed, there’s a chance that the Sprint format won’t be seen in 2022 if an agreement can’t be reached. Steiner is indifferent about the concept itself, so won’t agree to a budget increase beyond a certain point.
“I didn’t hear anything since our last meeting – I don’t remember where it was, Saudi Arabia maybe – with Stefano (Domenicali) about the Sprint races,” Steiner told RACER. “We sent in our opinion about it, which we were asked to do, but since then I haven’t heard anything. I think there will be an F1 Commission meeting in the next weeks, so I think we will hear more from it.
“But at the end of the day, it needs to make commercial sense, it needs to make sporting sense. I’m sure there will be a proposal and if FOM says some people are opposed to the budgets then they decide against it. I don’t really know because I don’t dislike Sprint races if they happen, but if they don’t happen I don’t think the upside is so big that I will go and vouch for them.
“I don’t really know how much (the upside) is, so I will leave that in the hands of Stefano to sort out, because for sure if it makes sense commercially and the fans like it enough they will try to do it. But they are the promoter, we always work with them and try to be with them if we can do something better. But I’m not going out of my way so that the big teams get an advantage out of it because we raised the budget cap.
“I’m grown up as well about that; why would we open a loophole here that means we are going back to the ‘good old days’ (before a budget cap)?”
However, Steiner insists he is not upset about big teams trying to increase their budgets, as he understands the desire to defend their own corner.
“No, it doesn’t frustrate me, because it’s just what you do if you can,” he said. “They are just doing what they can.”