Since the FIA leaked the fact that Red Bull Racing had breached the 2021 cost cap during the run up to the Singapore GP weekend,. The paddock has been a frenzied rumour mill about how much the overspend was. $10m was the first number published by Germany’s AMuS.
Christian Horner alluded to the “disputed amount with the FIA” being a “couple of hundred thousand dollars” during interviews at the US GP.
FIA actions over cost cap criticised
The new financial regulations appear to have been poorly written and the administration of them by the FIA has also been heavily criticised.
Once found to be in a minor breach – less than $7.25m – the range of penalties ranged from a small reprimand to exclusion from F1 events. This clearly needs to be better categorised.
Once the minor breach was announced the FIA and Red Bull entered a consultation period designed to agree a punishment and conclude the matter. However, the team did have the right to extend this for further review and even a length delay while they applied to the International Court of Appeal over the matter.
An agreement over the penalty reached
It appears for the benefit of the FIA and Formula One’s reputation, Red Bull Racing have decided to play call and the ‘white smoke’ appeared in the last 30 minutes from the conclave.
Red Bull in an “Accepted Breach Agreement” have accepted a $7m fine and a 10% reduction in aerodynamic testing for 2023.
Red Bull have been hit with a $7m fine and a 10 percent reduction in aero testing for 2023 as punishment for breaking F1’s cost cap regulations.
The full amount of the Red Bull breach was $2.2m however the FIA agreed if a tax credit had been properly applied this would have been just $0.5m which an FIA statement states by be just 0.37%.
“Red Bull Racing was found to be in breach, however, the Cost Cap Administration recognised that Red Bull Racing has acted cooperatively throughout the review process and has sought to provide additional information and evidence when requested in a timely manner, that this is the first year of the full application of the Financial Regulations and that there is no accusation or evidence that RBR has sought at any time to act in bad faith, dishonestly or in fraudulent manner, nor has it wilfully concealed any information from the Cost Cap Administration,” read an FIA statement.
The proposed settlement was made by the FIA at the US GP last weekend, but was put on hold following the death of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
To follow is the response from other team bosses, some of whom have slated the Milton Keynes based outfit describing their actions as “cheating”.
Red Bull pain
Some F1 observers may believe Red Bull have gotten off lightly given the fine will not reduce their allowable spending in the future. Yet having clinched the constructors’ title Red Bull were already facing reduced aerodynamic testing time for next season.
The FIA regulates for a maximum amount of aero testing time each year but the teams are handicapped depending on where they finish.
Red Bull as champions are already allowed just 70% of the maximum allowable time. If Ferrari finish in P2 they will receive 75% and Mercedes 80%. By deducting another 10% of Red Bull’s allowable time (70%) this in fact reduces their aero testing to 63% of the regulated maximum by the FIA.
So in reality Mercedes will have a 27% more aero testing time than their arch rivals Red Bull. Yet despite whether this is enough to redesign the woeful W13 is yet to be seen.
The testing reduction is applied for 12 months from the date the Agreed Breach Agreement is executed and so will hurt Red Bull for a full tale months.
Comment already incoming
“So it’s an overspend for Red Bull of 0.37%, but an overspend is still an overspend however large or small, surely a benefit must be derived from that overspend. Scrap the minor or major breach nonsense in the future & 10% wind tunnel reduction? Is that really a strong deterrent?” says Sky F1 commentator David Croft.
F1 commentator Will Buxton adds, “While the headline is £1.86m I think it’s interesting to note that had RBR correctly applied its tax credit its overspend was actually £432k or 0.37%. As such is a $7m fine and 10% development time penalty large enough to deter future breaches?”
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 28, 2022