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F1's 2026 Plan to Seal Budget Cap Loopholes

F1’s 2026 Plan to Seal Budget Cap Loopholes

27/02/2024

In a move towards fairness, F1 will fully implement a new rule by 2026 to close budget cap loopholes, despite growing team sizes.

Formula 1 is set to address the loopholes in the budget cap rules – but this will only be fully implemented by 2026.

It was expected that limiting spending would result in smaller teams. However, the opposite has happened: the staff sizes of top teams have actually increased, growing from an already large workforce of up to 1,000 people to even more.

The top teams now employ 1,500 people excluding the engine department. The increase in numbers is due to a loophole where some full-time employees are now shifted to part-time on other projects – because only a portion of their salaries then needs to be accounted for.

Formula 1 teams are involved in building or assisting in building motorcycles, boats, or road cars, making audits very complex for the FIA when it comes to estimating the actual time spent on F1 for each employee!

To address this increasingly exploited loophole, a more robust rule is being considered and will be added to the 2026 regulations requiring that 100% of every staff member’s salary be included in the cap.

“This is a real step towards greater fairness,” praised Williams boss James Vowles.

However, there are also other loopholes, such as staff members being split between two partner teams, notably Red Bull Racing and the newly renamed RB F1 team.

The RB team boss, Laurent Mekies, denies any wrongdoing.

“We have agreed on individual work bans in consultation with the FIA,” he insisted.

The FIA’s single-seaters director, Nikolas Tombazis, confirms: “Moving from a large team to a small team takes a staff member three months, and vice versa, it requires up to six months.”

However, these arrangements between “friendly teams” like Red Bull and RB F1 involve much easier-to-find amicable agreements.

Tombazis admits: “If such a decision occurs between two friendly teams, we will examine it particularly carefully. In any case, it is forbidden to switch quickly from one team to another.”

F1’s 2026 Plan to Seal Budget Cap Loopholes. F1’s 2026 Plan to Seal Budget Cap Loopholes

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