Brazilian Grand Prix – Haas’ team boss Guenther Steiner says he believes the incoming budget cap won’t completely eliminate the performance gulf at the top.
Two weeks ago, Formula 1 introduced a raft of new regulations for the 2021 season onwards. These included new sporting and technical regulations, while a long-awaited budget cap of $175 million dollars annually has also been introduced.
This cap is with the intention of preventing the big teams from spending their way to performance, while trying to give the smaller, lesser-resourced teams a better chance.
One of those smaller teams is Haas, who buy their chassis from Dallara and have a technical agreement with Ferrari for power units, drivetrain and gearboxes. Team boss Guenther Steiner has welcomed the budget cap but says he doesn’t think it’ll change things all that much.
“I think in the beginning the cost cap – how it’s defined now – will close the gap, but it will not take the gap away.” he said. “We are far from spending $175 million at the moment, and the big teams are well over that. The big teams need to come down, and they will get down to $175 million, but most of the other teams are well within that figure. Hopefully, it closes the gap to start off, then we’ll see. Maybe there’s a second step in the cost cap.”
Explained: How the budget cap will be implemented and enforced.
While the new technical regulations will close down certain development opportunities for teams, as well as standardising certain parts of the car across all the teams, Steiner says there’s still plenty of scope with aerodynamics to differentiate the teams performance on track.
“The development, whatever the regulations, is always in aerodynamics.” Steiner explained. “That’s the main thing to develop. There is still enough freedom where we can develop areas of the car to make them different from each other. We’ll try to get a little bit more performance out than our competitors. The floor is always one of the most important things on a Formula One car. It’s always been important and will continue to be, so not a lot will change in that respect. You’re always working to get everything out of the car from wherever you can.”
F1 cars are expected to be around three or four seconds a lap slower once these new regulations are brought in, but Steiner says he doesn’t think that deficit will exist for too long. While the weight of the cars increases with the new regs, Steiner says the setback of aerodynamic progress will initially slow the cars down before clever designers claw the performance back again: “Nobody wants heavier cars in racing in general, and even more so in Formula One.”
“It doesn’t make the cars look as smooth when they ride around. With all the technology and the safety aspects and the hybrid technology, you cannot do without it. I don’t think the 25 kilos will be the biggest factor in making the cars slower – it’s more the aerodynamics. Maybe at the beginning we are not where we want to be, but I’m pretty sure we’ll end up with the cars back to being as fast as they are now. A lot depends on the tires, as well.”