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Red Bull Racing

'Cost cap concerns could force Newey away from F1 with Red Bull'

According to German media, Red Bull will have to step in due to the budget cap and the hugely expensive Adrian Newey will have to shift his focus from F1 to another project in the medium term.

Verstappen Newey
To news overview © XPBimages

The idea to limit the spending of Grand Prix teams is nothing new, and was last on the table around 2010, when then-FIA President Max Mosley was keen to push it through to level the playing field.

It failed, for various reasons, but was agreed to in time for the 2021 season, limiting teams to what they can spend in a season in the hope that over time, the field would converge as the smaller outfits could compete with the likes of the Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull juggernauts which won every race from the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix to the 2020 Italian GP.

The base limit for 2023 was $135 million USD, although in reality this was a little higher owing to a rise to take into account the high level of global inflation, but teams have discovered that they can't simply bring upgrades whenever they feel like it, as the cost must be absorbed into the cost cap.

The three highest earners at each team are exempt from the cap, but this means teams are finding it hard to be able to promote and retain talent from within, with Red Bull losing key Adrian Newey lieutenants Dan Fallows and Rob Marshall to Aston Martin and McLaren, respectively.

But there is now the possibility that Newey himself could be moved off the F1 project due to concerns about his status as a high-earner.

Newey on the sidelines?

In 2023, the FIA issued Technical Directive 45, aimed at combating the increasing use of senior technical figures in the applied divisions of teams, such as Red Bull Advanced Technologies or McLaren Applied Technologies.

There were fears that teams were transferring personnel to the advanced technologies branches to gain further F1 knowledge, but outside of the cost cap, which would be a breach of the rules.

When it announced the cost cap findings for the 2022 season, the FIA noted that all teams had acted "in good faith" but nevertheless closed the loophole, meaning that any person who contributes to F1 operations is counted towards the cost cap.

In the case of Newey in his role as Red Bull Chief Technical Officer, he is now spending much of his time focusing on the RB17 hypercar project with limited scope on F1.

However, as he still does contribute towards F1, his hefty salary is therefore included within the budget cap, causing a headache for Red Bull.

AMUS has reported that the team are considering transferring Newey to the RB17 project full-time, thus getting his salary off the F1 books and freeing up space on the bottom line.

However, should this happen, then Newey would be banned from working on the F1 machines.

RacingNews365 has reached out to Red Bull with a request of comment.

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