Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc title battle set to be affected by new 2022 FIA rule

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s title battle could be impacted by F1’s new cost cap rules for the 2022 season, according to Red Bull’s Adrian Newey. He has warned teams ‘can’t afford’ the types of upgrades they used to do and have to be more savvy with their money.

Newey warned teams were being forced to ‘make choices’ and will ‘wait a bit longer’ before introducing new pieces on the car. The new cost cap means teams can only spend $140million (£112m) for the entire season including new upgrades and parts.

Red Bull has already brought some upgrades to their car but the Ferrari is yet to install any new designs. It allowed Red Bull to jump the Scuderia on pure pace at Imola as Verstappen and Sergio Perez looked on course for a one-two finish even before Leclerc’s late spin.

The new rules mean teams must maximise their upgrades as much as possible instead of trying a range of new parts and seeing if they worked. Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, he said: “Development, for sure, is important. “The other complication this year is the cost cap, because it means that we have to develop within that restriction.

max verstappen

“Perhaps we’re making choices where things we might have introduced before, we will wait for a bit longer, to try to build a bit more of a package before we introduce it. We just can’t afford to do what we used to do last year, or even [in] years gone by, where there’d be something every race.”

When asked if Red Bull would lose the development race to Ferrari, Helmut Marko replied that he “didn’t think so”. Ferrari team boss Mattia Binottto warned the balance of performance will shift “race by race” across the season.

He insisted that while Red Bull may have been quicker at Imola, Ferrari had the better package at Australia at a completely different type of circuit.

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Earlier in the season, Binotto also stressed the importance of getting on top of the development race battle. However, he stressed Ferrari were now better prepared than in previous seasons but warned the team that worked best with budget cap constraints could gain an advantage,

He explained: “Keeping up the level on a long season is a challenge, not just for us but all the teams. It’s true that our competitors have very strong development; in 2017 and ‘18 we lost a bit of ground.

“But since then, in car design, we have improved our [wind] tunnel, technologies, processes and simulations and so today we are much better prepared than in the past to do a good job with development. We [also] have a budget cap which will affect the rate of development – we need to make sure we have the right policy on that, as it could be a game-changer in the fight for development.”

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