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Guenther Steiner

Steiner on Brown's letter: Going over the F1 cost cap is 'cheating'

The Haas F1 Team Principal has offered his viewpoints on the cost cap saga after Zak Brown sent a letter to the FIA claiming Red Bull were 'cheating' by breaching the $145 million limit.

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Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner has weighed in on the cost cap saga, following the news that Red Bull were believed to have been offered a deal by the FIA during the United States Grand Prix weekend.

The team was in a head-to-head battle with the FIA over their minor breach of the $145 million cost cap, after their submission was found to have breached in four main areas. Talks have now been paused following the sudden death of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Prior to the race, a letter written by Zak Brown that was sent to FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem showed the team boss accusing Red Bull of 'cheating', which Team Principal Christian Horner refuted during the press conference on Friday.

When asked about the letter and whether going over the cost cap should be classed as cheating, Steiner agreed that any breach should be looked at similar to a sporting or technical penalty.

"I always have an opinion, [you are] innocent until until proven guilty. Maybe [Zak] knows more than me, but [on] this stuff I live with the authority," he told media, including RacingNews365.com.

Steiner noted the previous technical penalty the team received at the Italian Grand Prix in 2018, when they were excluded because the floor on Romain Grosjean's car was found to be illegal.

He explained: "It is like going under weight or using too much fuel. We got excluded from a race because a technical infringement of three millimetres, which didn't make a difference going fast[er] or not.

"So it is cheating, but as the rules are written, there are penalties and we need to respect them. There is nothing [in the rules to say] if you cheat, you're excluded. So there you need to find the right penalty for that."

Without cost cap, Haas would not be on the grid

Steiner noted that without a cost cap in place, Haas would have probably dropped off the grid in 2020 due to the escalating costs that would've ensured for running an F1 team post-pandemic.

But he echos fellow Team Principals in their desire to ensure the cost cap is effectively policed, rather than being an advised amount that teams should stick to.

"We are still here because of the budget cap, otherwise we would have been gone in 2020," said Steiner.

"We need to make the rules better and stronger, but it's a good step and the budget cap will not go away.

"So we just need to adjust these breaches now, how we handle them this time to start off with, and then in the future. Therefore, I'm relaxed, because I think the budget cap works.

"We need to make sure that in the future, we are not getting away from the principle of a budget cap.

"'Is it one million or two million [Red Bull] overspent?' That doesn't make a difference to me at the moment, because we have made a good step having a budget cap and getting the teams closer together."

Impact of MoneyGram sponsorship

Haas announced digital person-to-person company MoneyGram as their new title sponsor for 2023, with the team already putting their logos on the car over the weekend at Austin.

MoneyGram claims it operates globally "in nearly every country in the world" and should bring in enough money to Haas to get them close to the cost cap limit for next year.

Steiner explains: "It should get us to the cost cap or at least very close. We are in the process now to do the budgets for next year, so we will see where we get with it.

"But that is the aim to get to the cost cap, we were not far off this year to be honest, so hopefully we are at it next year."

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RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key issues from the United States Grand Prix, including what Dietrich Mateschitz's death might mean for the future of Red Bull in F1.

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