At least four factors weigh on the decisions that the federation will take: times, advantages, sanctions, risks

    But who made him do it, one would say … Since last December Mohammed Ben Sulayem became president of the International Automobile Federation – taking over from Jean Todt – he found himself having to handle only burning cases related to the F1, and the definition of hot is a decent understatement. First the 2021 drivers title decided in Abu Dhabi by a personal interpretation of the rules by the race director Michael Masi, who gave us back his place after furious controversies. Now the question of last season’s budget cap, apparently not respected by Red Bull and (to a lesser extent) by Aston Martin. If the accusations were confirmed, in the case of the Verstappen team, this would have conditioned the conquest of the last World Championship and the now inevitable encore of this season. It is therefore an extremely serious fact, which requires very serious considerations.

    four considerations

    What will happen in the management of the affair, from now on, will mark a fundamental step for the credibility of this sport and for its future. First consideration: the times. It is not possible to formalize infringements related to the previous season only in October. If the structure in charge of the controls is not sufficient, in terms of means and numbers available, the FIA ​​must adapt. And the date of March 31st as the limit within which the teams must submit the accounts of the expenses of the championship concluded three months before must be, if necessary, anticipated. Second consideration: the advantages. Red Bull’s extra-budget investments, certainly not destined for logistics and administration but for the development of the single-seaters, could have decisive results in the fight for the 2021 title and have influenced the fate of the current championship in the same way. If it is true that with 4 million dollars an F1 team can produce the aerodynamic evolutions of an entire season, and given that the overshoot attributed to the Milton Keynes team should exceed that figure (some are talking about almost 10 million dollars) , it is quickly understood how a balanced World Championship like the last one – decided on the last lap of the last GP – is distorted. And if part of that money had been directed to the 2022 project, and it is likely, the conclusion that is drawn is the same. Basically, a full-blown administrative doping that puts the contenders on different levels: sportingly it is not acceptable. Third consideration: the sanctions. The rules set out various options for punishing those who do not comply with the budget cap. The minimum is a fine (for minor infringements, quantified in an overrun of less than 5%), the maximum is exclusion from the championship. In between there are subtraction of points in the constructors ‘and drivers’ championship, disqualification for a number of GPs to be established, limits in aerodynamic tests and reductions in the sum available for future budgets. Closing everything with a fine is not imaginable: it would mean incentivising the teams that have auto industrial giants behind them to ignore the rules. In any case, by paying, everything falls into place. Punishment must act as a deterrent. The mistake of football fair play, bypassed with various expedients, from the arrival of a friendly sponsor to the sale of hyper-valued corporate assets should not be repeated. And the sanctions must be adopted, at this point, with great speed. Fourth and final consideration: the risks. And here we return to the Federation table. An exemplary penalty, as also requested by Ferrari, would strengthen the credibility of the sport. Would it be unfortunate for F1? It does not matter. We have seen Juventus finish in Serie B, seven Tour de France victories taken away from Lance Armstrong and a bunch of Olympic gold medals change masters. The suffering, for the GP world, would be momentary. If, on the other hand, we were not able to punish the offenders, then we might as well joke and end it here with the budget cap and the desire to limit expenses by creating more balance. But yes, it would be a deadly blow to the image of F1 and the Federation that governs it.

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