Formula 1

FIA warns F1 teams over 'stockpiling' loophole

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FIA warns F1 teams over 'stockpiling' loophole
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Formula 1 teams have been warned that they will not be allowed to exploit a 'stockpiling' loophole in the budget cap to help them trim spending next season.

This year is the final one where teams have unlimited resources, with a $145 million per season budget cap coming into force for the start of 2021.

The change in the financial regulations means that teams will face an especially tricky time juggling where to spend cash next season, with a major car rules overhaul coming in 2022.

Some concerns have emerged, however, that teams could look at ways to bring forward 2021 spending into this season, so there will be fewer outgoings next year.

That fear is especially big because, with teams having to effectively carry over the current chassis into next year, a lot of similar parts can be used.

One way teams could cut back on spending for 2021 could be to stockpile as many parts as possible this year, which can then be used next year without actually having to come out of the team's $145 million limit.

Any savings made could then be diverted into better preparing for the new rules in 2022.

It is understood that on Friday night, however, the FIA issued a note to teams warning them against trying to make any stockpile plans – as the governing body was set to clamp down on the behaviour to ensure teams don't try to get around the budget cap.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: "There's been conversations around people stockpiling this year, with no budget cap, for next year, to allow you to spend next year's money more on 2022.

"I think the FIA has seen that coming in and is on top of it, and [will be] putting regulations in place as to restrict your ability to spend a lot of money [now] for 2021, to allow you to spend 2021 for a head start on 2022."

Brown said he was not aware of any rival teams who had begun stockpiling already to try to get around the rules, but says the FIA note was pretty clear that teams would not get away with it.

"I'm not aware of anyone doing it and people will do it to the fullest extent they're allowed to," he added. "But again, because the FIA is on top of it, I don't think someone's going to be able to do it outside the boundaries of the rules."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble