Formula 1 Imola Crash: A Measly $1.3 Million Crash

The Formula 1 race in Imola, Italy, was one of the more exciting races in memory. Valtteri Bottas of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and George Russell of the Williams team had a slight altercation. But what happened after the incident was even more interesting.

What went down at the Formula 1 race?

Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
The Formula 1 race, titled the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, had a crash between teams | Hasan Bratic/picture alliance via Getty Images

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas stole the show when the two collided on the track at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Russel attempted to pass Bottas and didn’t quite pull it off. Both cars tossed debris across the track after the incident, which called for a red flag.

F1 cars are made of expensive materials that didn’t survive the crash. The cars could not be repaired during the race and had to be removed from the track.

According to Motorsport, the Mercedes vehicle will cost a little more than $1.39 million to fix. While the W12 was outfitted with more steel and less expensive carbon fiber heading into this season, which will help offset some of the cost.

In addition to that, W12 was basically a re-vamp of W11 used in last year’s Formula 1 races. This eliminated the cost of creating an entirely new chassis.

What is the new budget cap?

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This might be the first time a budget actually impacts Mercedes. Heading into the 2021 season, it was decided that there would be a cap of $145 million to be spent on the cars. Now all of the damage from the race has to be repaired, keeping the budget in mind.

And that’s not the only problem. The other Mercedes W12 driven by Lewis Hamilton was also damaged. One incident like this won’t ruin the season, but what if there are more?

It isn’t that an accident will wipe out the whole budget, but it will certainly have a ripple effect as time goes on. Where will the money come from? The bigger teams, Red Bull Racing, Ferrari, and Mercedes, are all working with a smaller team this year due to the cap.

Further budget complications for F1

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No matter which team you are rooting for, this race showed some of the strengths and weaknesses of the sport. This is what the smaller-budget teams have been dealing with all along. Having to work within a budget, or else, certainly adds another layer.

The smaller teams don’t have access to a plethora of extra parts or extra money to toss at the car. If the vehicle ends up in an accident with another car, it could cost the team the entire race. This is certainly a new hurdle for the big teams, but it makes it more interesting.

“If you divide $145m by 23 events you’re on a crude basis [seeing] what it takes to operate a Grand Prix car, and of course, adding in, effectively albeit a shortened race is just more cost that we’re naturally going to incur the usage of parts, etc.”

Christian Horner | MotorSport

While the FIA agreed to add three more races to the mix, the company also agreed to increase the budget cap by $500,000. But that isn’t everything: the races will be sprint qualifying races.

Each team will complete a 100km race on Saturday at the Silverstone, Monza, and Interlagos tracks. Once these Saturday races are completed, it will decide the starting grid for Sunday. And what’s after that? No one knows.