Ferrari: Maximum penalties needed to avoid F1 budget cap 'collapse'

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Ferrari says the FIA must show impose "maximum penalties" to avoid the "collapse" of Formula 1's budget cap.

On Monday, following several delays, the governing body finally issued certificates of compliance with the new Financial Regulations for the 2021 season.

Three teams, Red Bull, Aston Martin and Williams, were found to have made procedural breaches of the regulations, while Red Bull had a minor overspend of less than five percent above the $145m cap for last year.

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As a result, the Milton Keynes-based outfit now faces potential punishments ranging from championship points deductions to a reduction in their 2023 budget cap or aerodynamic testing.

And speaking back in Singapore, Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies urged the FIA to send a strong message to any team in violation of the rules.

“It is a very vital test for the cost cap,” he said. “And if we don’t pass that test, it’s probably game over, because the implications are huge.

"We trust the FIA 100 percent. They have taken a very strong position in recent weeks and months on other issues.

"Therefore we expect that, for such a serious matter, there will be complete transparency and maximum penalties to ensure we are all racing within the same rules.

Mekies Ferrari SingaGP

"One of the main reasons why we are we are banging about transparency and severity is because if it turns out to be something that a team can bet on in order to gain a competitive advantage then the whole system collapses," Mekies explained.

"This is why especially in the framework of the very first instance of the budget cap being challenged, you need that amount of severity.” 

Though Red Bull's breach comes under the category of a "minor" overspend, the Ferrari sporting chief noted why that could still translate into a significant advantage for any team.

“We take it very seriously because this is a serious amount of lap time,” he stated. “Seven million (or five percent) will be like 70 engineers, and 70 engineers will give you a serious amount of lap time. That's one example. 

“So, if you think about the power that these Financial Regulations have, it's probably overpowering both the Technical and Sporting Regulations at the same time if you think about the amount of lap time that is lying into those sorts of numbers."

Horner Sulayem FIA ItaGP

Since the Red Bull breach was confirmed, it has been suggested the team had six areas it wanted FIA clarification on as to whether they were included or not as part of the budget cap.

But Ferrari claims there is no such uncertainty over the rules on their side.

“At least for us there is no question on what is the interpretation of what we have done because it’s been continuous discussions with the FIA - and I think that’s how the process is intended to be,” Mekies added. 

“Then after, of course, you have that final check that we are talking about now, that we are all waiting for. But in fact, we see very little room for surprises in the way that we have been discussing non-stop in the last two years with them.”