Ferrari have questioned whether F1’s governing body the FIA can properly police the budget cap amid rumours that Red Bull are preparing a major upgrade.
F1 introduced a $145m budget cap last season to reduce spending. That figure was lowered by $5m for 2022 but teams have been permitted a 3.5% overspent to fight rising inflation.
Debate over F1’s financial regulations has become a political battleground this season, with Red Bull’s in-season development arousing suspicion at rivals Ferrari.
There has been speculation in the F1 paddock that Red Bull are readying a new lightweight chassis that would shave 4kgs off their current one. Red Bull are believed to be targeting October’s Singapore Grand Prix for its introduction, but it could come sooner.
However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner denied this was the case when asked about his team’s development plans following Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said: “I cannot know what they are doing, if they have a lighter chassis or not, but generally speaking, the budget cap is always a concern.
“The financial regulations can make differences between teams in the way they are interpreting and somehow executing it.
“And we know we need to have a very strong FIA to make sure they are properly focusing, otherwise the regulations will not be fair and equitable.
“Ferrari would never be capable of introducing a lightweight chassis or a different chassis through a season simply for budget cap and I would be very surprised if a team is capable of doing it.
“And if they are, it is back to the regulation itself. Is it fair enough, is it equitable enough, is the policing sufficient? It’s a big question mark.
“It is a very green regulation at the moment. The number of people in the FIA monitoring it is very little.
“So it has to improve for the future because it would be really bad if somehow a championship was dictated by financial regulation and not technical or sporting.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his team would not be able to afford such an update.
“We wouldn’t be able to introduce a chassis at that stage of the season,” he said.
“We are massively overweight, which we haven’t been able to dial out because we are trying parts on the car in order to solve our various issues, so can’t afford that, full stop.
“So what was aimed for by introducing the cost cap absolutely hit the target. It is what they wanted to achieve. The big teams can’t just throw money at it.”