Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has conceded recent changes to the sport have been “difficult to put into the hands of the old people”. A budget cap was implemented to help even out the playing field across the grid in 2021, with an initial $145 million limit reduced by $5 million each year, though a break was given to teams last season in the wake of soaring inflation. Sprint races were also introduced by virtue of a three-event trial in the same campaign, with the format now given six races this season as F1 aims to provide more on-track entertainment across its three-day weekends. Whilst Red Bull has dominated the opening three races of the current season, the results of the budget cap’s introduction have begun to show with the midfield pack grouped tightly behind in the battle for points. The time difference between the fastest and slowest times in Q1 at the season opener in Bahrain this term was 1.1 seconds, a reduction of almost a second from the equivalent gap at the circuit in 2020 before the budget cap was introduced. Each of the 10 teams has scored points in the opening three rounds, underlining the competitive nature of the entire field. Phenomenal for F1 Speaking at a Liberty Media investor Q&A in Las Vegas, Domenicali addressed the addition of the budget cap and said: “What has been done has been phenomenal for the sport. It is not taken for granted that it has been a success. “Now we are adding another dimension, they were discussing the technical dimension where the fees were focused on and where the FIA was focused on. We added the financial one, we did the most complicated one because in terms of policing, the complexity of the details – there are teams that are a part of a manufacturer, there are other entities that are building up to create some resources for the team. “So the complexity is for sure something that the FIA has to be very strong in building up a team that is really good in managing the control. “But I think what has been done is one of the pillars enabling the system to be so strong. That has, of course, put the teams in a different cultural frame because now they need to think differently, how to manage development over the year. We are talking about sprint – that could be a factor. “You can have more accidents and so on, that’s part of the game so they need to control in a different way. That is better for the unpredictability of the sport. “So that is something that has been very difficult to put into the hands of the old people in the beginning, but it is crucial in the medium term to have it because it will enable the sport to have more competition on the track.”

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