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Concerns within F1: Can the likes of Red Bull benefit from their sister teams?

In the 2022 F1 season, the budget cap will be lowered to $140 million. As a result, teams will have a more limited expenditure to develop their cars. This is being closely monitored by the FIA, but there are concerns among some teams that the likes of Red Bull could take advantage of their sister outfit.

The budget cap is intended to ensure that Formula 1 teams are not able to spend endless amounts of money to build the best car on the grid. As such, the teams are drawn closer together, and front-runners like Mercedes and Red Bull cannot gain a huge advantage by budgeting tens of millions more than smaller outfits. However, there are concerns about a possible advantage for teams with a subsidiary or sister team. James Key, Executive Technical Director at McLaren, explains in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com that 'A-B teams' need to be watched closely. Partnerships like those between Red Bull and AlphaTauri can, he argues, hold a big advantage. Key expects that, with the new regulations and budget cap, there will be teams that find a loophole in the regulations. "I think there's always a concern, because you never know what someone could discover," Key said. "And of course, that's the nature of regulations they develop, when you find that actually, there's a way of bending the rules here. That's inevitable, because everyone wants to make the best of it. "So there's always a concern that there'll be a little loophole you've missed, but I think the FIA have been very open and very diligent about this. But there's concerns beyond that. "There's sort of the A-B team thing, there's [the question of] how can that be exploited. That's very difficult to police."

Why the budget cap can be difficult to control

Key feels that this highlights how different areas of the budget cap may be difficult to monitor. "The A-B team thing is one of those things where it needs to be very well monitored within a cost cap, otherwise, it could be exploited," he explained. "I'm not suggesting anything untoward is going on, but you can see how difficult that could be to control, and I think there's a lot more complexity beyond just purely financial, to make sure that everyone is fairly operating within a cap. "So it's how do you deal with that? How do you deal with the amount of freedoms you've got now with transferable components or listed components, etc? Is it being dealt with in the right way? There's an effort going on to be very clear about how that's specified. "But it's another area where it could be interpreted in different ways. So, beyond the financial in terms of actually running a team, and what the rules allow you to do, we've got to be careful there as well, but there are discussions which are ongoing now."

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