FIA Closes Budget Cap Loophole Exploited by Red Bull & Top F1 Teams

From 2026, the FIA plans to enforce stricter budget cap regulations in Formula 1 by closing a loophole that has allowed teams to grow by allocating staff salaries across multiple projects, ensuring that 100% of an employee’s salary counts towards the budget cap regardless of their project allocation.

Highlights

– ‣ The FIA plans to enforce the budget cap more strictly from 2026 to close loopholes that allow teams to hire more people than intended.
– ‣ Despite the introduction of a budget cap in Formula 1 in 2021 to ensure equitable spending among teams, top teams have continued to grow, with some now consisting of 1,500 people.
– ‣ Top teams, like Red Bull, navigate around the budget cap by allocating important staff to part-time projects, thus not fully accounting for their salaries within the F1 team’s budget.
– ‣ From 2026, the FIA aims to require that 100% of an employee’s salary counts towards the budget cap, regardless of the percentage of time they spend on the F1 project, to prevent teams from exploiting current loopholes.


The FIA’s got a plan. They’re tightening the reins on the budget cap come 2026. Seems like the big teams found a sneaky way to bulk up their crew without breaking the bank. But, oh, the FIA’s onto them. They’re planning to slam that loophole shut.

Since 2021, Formula 1’s been playing by these new budget rules. The idea? Keep the spending fair and square, so the race to the top gets a bit more… cozy. Teams should, theoretically, be neck and neck. But, let’s be real, it’s not quite panning out.

The dream? Slimmer, trimmer teams. The reality? Not even close. Auto, Motor und Sport spilled the beans: F1 squads are ballooning. One team boss, chatting with the German outlet, dropped a bomb. Teams that used to run on a 1,000-strong workforce? They’re now rolling deep with 1,500. Despite the cap, teams are somehow still beefing up.

### How Red Bull and other top teams get around the budget cap

Here’s the scoop on the workaround. Part-time gigs. Yep, teams are getting creative with their accounting. Take Rob Marshall. Once a Red Bull guy, now with McLaren. His time was split – a bit here, a bit there. Only a fraction of his paycheck hit the F1 team’s books.

This juggling act lets teams stack their rosters without going broke. More projects, more reasons to keep the talent on board. But for the FIA? Tracking this is like herding cats. They’re planning a game changer for 2026, though.

The new rule? If you’re on the payroll, you’re fully on the budget. No more part-time percentage play. Even if you’re only 10% on the F1 project, your whole salary counts. The FIA tried to get this rolling with Technical Directive 045. No dice – not enough hands went up. But come 2026, they’re ready to push it through, no matter what.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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