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Formula 1 Hungarian GP

FIA will not rush F1 cost cap investigation despite wild rumours

The FIA insists it will not be rushed into completing its Formula 1 cost cap review for last season despite an eagerness from some parties to get things sorted quickly. 

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA and Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula 1 on the grid

The Hungarian Grand Prix paddock was awash with fresh cost cap speculation, with wild rumours that some teams had already been found to be in breach of the limits, something strongly denied by the governing body. 

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali had also expressed his eagerness ahead of the weekend to complete the investigations because that was the best way to stop mounting speculation. 

"Control is in the hands of the FIA," he told Motorsport.com. "Personally, what I have asked is to anticipate as soon as possible the publication of the investigations made by the staff of the FIA. 

"But I say this only because, in this way, it does not give rise to speculation and comments that are not good for anyone." 

Yet rather than elect to rush things and risk making mistakes, the FIA instead appears to be ramping up its efforts to ensure that its policing of the cost cap has been as thorough as possible, even if that means it taking even more time to check each team's submissions. 

The FIA has issued a statement, saying that the checking of 2022 submissions was continuing and would be seen through in the manner the governing body felt the best, even if that meant it would still take some time. 

"The auditing fieldwork is still ongoing and is scheduled to conclude in the upcoming weeks, after which there will be a period required for the finalisation of the review," they said. 

Rumours of potential cost cap breaches are growing in the F1 paddock

Rumours of potential cost cap breaches are growing in the F1 paddock

Photo by: Red Bull Racing

"There is not, and has never been, a specific deadline for certification, and any suggestions of delays to this process or potential breaches are completely unfounded. 

"The Cost Cap Administration will formally communicate its findings according to the procedure set out in the Financial Regulations. The timeframe is intentionally not fixed in order not to prejudice the robustness and the effectiveness of the review." 

As part of the ongoing review of submissions, it is understood that several teams last week were requested to answer fresh questions about their cost cap spending.

But rather than the FIA returning for further clarifications being viewed as a cause for alarm, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff suggested it was something to be encouraged about – because it showed how seriously the FIA was taking the investigations. 

"I think they came back with tons of questions to lots of teams and that shows how robust the process is," explained Wolff.  

"It's good. Strong auditors are beneficial for F1 because we need to stop any kind of unintentional or intentional breach of the cost cap: it's like technical and sporting regulations." 

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Asked if there were any concerns that Mercedes could be in breach amid these extra questions, Wolff said: "Our audit was finished a couple of months ago. And since then, we have no indication that we've fallen short of anything, as far as we understand." 

In his comments about the cost cap, Domenicali had added that the FIA should favour the choice of sporting penalties, rather than financial sanctions, for any team found to have breached the cost cap. 

"I would like the penalty to be sporting in case of infringement, it is something we asked for very clearly," he said. 

"There are three regulations to be respected: sporting, technical and financial. Any infractions must be punished with sporting measures. You can't go in other directions."

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