Red Bull Racing have entered ‘settlement negotiations’ with the FIA following the adjudication of Formula One’s governing body that there Milton teams team breached the 2021 $145m spending limit. Initially the team will debate the items the FIA believe were not included in their submission in March and argue why they are not relevant.
If both parties can agree a final spending amount a ‘settlement agreement’ will be reached with either Red Bull back under the cost cap or agreeing an overspend together with a penalty.
Were there still to be no agreement then the matter goes to a cost cap arbitration panel of Judges and then if Red Bull decide to an appeal at the FIA’s International Court of Arbitration.
Red Bull overspend unclear
Since the original German publication AMuS claimed Red Bull had overspent by $10m during the Singapore GP, the FIA have revealed the breach is ‘minor’ This means in fact the overspend is less than $7.25m.
The latest guess from the German media is the overspend is around $1.8m and it relates to Adrian Newey’s remuneration for other activities outside of Formula One.
Teams are allowed to exclude their top three earners from the budget and Red Bull in fact claim Newey is in fact exempt under this regulation.
No points deduction for Max
The fact that Red Bull’s overspend is declared as ‘minor’ will disappoint the Lewis Hamilton fans because it is highly improbably the FIA now will resort to points deductions and rewriting the Formula One history books for 2021.
However, an incident at the British GP last season could have cost Red Bull a sum that roughly equates to the amount of their cost cap breach.
The title contenders started the race on the front row of the grid with Verstappen o pole. Hamilton made the slightly better start and was harassing Verstappen all the way to turn 9 Copse corner.
Hamilton costs Red Bull the overspend
On the exit of Luffield (turn 8) Hamilton was gaining down the old pits straights on the Dutch driver and pulled to the side to make the pass. As they entered the high speed turn Hamilton’s front left wheel hit Verstappens rear right sending him spinning out into the barrier.
The impact Verstappen suffered was later revealed to be 51g and despite receiving a time penalty for causing the incident, Hamilton went on to win the race.
crash.net estimate the damage Hamilton caused to Verstappens car to be around $2m.
FIA to rewrite ‘minor overspend’ rules
Of course Formula One and motorsports have never forced a guilty party to pay for another team’s damage – regardless of whether they were deemed at fault by the stewards of the race.
In line with this, despite Hamilton costing Red Bull around $2m to repair the RB17 for the next round in Hungary; this will not be a mitigating factor Red Bull can call upon in their negotiations with the FIA.
Given the breadth of the ‘minor overspend’ category together with sanctions ranging from a reprimand to points deduction, it is likely Red Bull ad the FIA will agree a minor sanction and re-write the rules for ‘minor reach’ that will apply now for the 2023 season.