During the season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain, the McLaren F1 team had a horrific weekend and were afraid they were having a very complicated season, but they were able to quickly rectify the situation.
For James Key, the team’s head coach at Woking, the first round, combined with set budgets, represented the biggest challenge for his people in this new era of Formula 1.
“There were a lot of challenges because it’s a brand new car, but I would say the biggest was our very difficult first race as it set the direction for the rest of the season. We progressed quickly after that. I had some good results in the following races but the start was tough. You can also talk about the pace of development which is important with the new regulations.
“High-end budgets also have a huge impact, we had to choose carefully what to do and when. We had to react incredibly quickly after the issues we had during pre-season testing in Bahrain a week before the first race, but as a team, we solved the problem. And we found solutions that worked. Sometimes we were fast, sometimes we weren’t fast enough, and it wasn’t anyone’s fault, it’s where we are now.”
“There were really higher-ceiling budgets last year, but we were much lower. Whereas in 2022 it was more difficult with the new car. It’s a learning process and we’re like, “Maybe there are four or five other teams working within budget, it’s all about balance. The truth is that if you spend money in one area, it will affect another.”
Maximum budgets ensure long-term financial stability for F1
If tight budgets impose new constraints on Formula 1 teams, this is also what will allow the system to run longer, according to Andrea Stella, race director at McLaren.
Maximized budgets forced teams to work more efficiently. We have been able to identify and exploit some opportunities that we might not have had if we weren’t under this financial constraint. From this point of view, it had a positive effect. This allows Formula 1 for long-term financial stability and equity, which has been the main objective of these upper bound budgets.
“I think inflation should be mentioned too, which has increased costs and made budget planning difficult. For example, freight parts are included in budgets. Currently, this leads to additional costs and this is a challenge for all parties in F1. »