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FIA 'striking a balance' as Christmas parties v front wings enters new cost cap agenda

A Christmas party or a front wing? What would you choose if you were a TD of an F1 team?

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the FIA is on the right track with "sensible" cost cap discussions ahead of a proposed revamp in 2026.

The cap is currently in its fourth season of implementation, with teams capped at spending $135 million, as will be the case for next season before changes are introduced the following year.

It is understood the cap will be significantly raised to around $215-220m, an increase of at least $80m. It should not be viewed, however, as motorsport's governing body easing the restrictions.

Instead, discussions are ongoing as to what should and should not be included in light of the learnings gained from the last three years since the cap was introduced in 2021.

Two elements that were under consideration to be included were staff entertainment and maternity pay. Following talks between the teams and the FIA, it has been determined that both will be exempt.

Cost cap providing 'huge amount of learning'

Further meetings are scheduled to refine the list of inclusions/exclusions before the new figure is introduced in 2026.

Offering his assessment of the situation at present, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "It's a matter of striking a balance.

"There's been a huge amount of learning through the cost cap. The most important thing for 2026 is that the employees don't bear the brunt of those changes.

"There's a sensible discussion about what's being included, what is to remain excluded and what actually is relevant to creating performance.

"For example, does a Christmas party actually make your car go faster? Now, if that is to be included in the cap, of course, every technical director is going to want a front wing as opposed to a Christmas party, which is a bit tight. I'm not saying that our technical director doesn't like Christmas parties, but he likes front wings!

"By and large, it's been a very productive and sensible discussion. It's now about finding that balance between what are exclusions and what is included within that higher number."

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