The Red Bull cost cap breach saga can soon be put to bed, however there is already some negative reaction to the FIA’s decision. Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren wrote to the FIA following the revelation Red Bull had committed a “minor breach” of the 2021 financial regulations.
In his letter brown outlined to the FIA that financial penalties alone would not suffice as sufficient deterrent to teams overspending in future years.
Brown says Red Bull are “cheats”
“We don’t feel a financial penalty alone would be a suitable penalty for a overspend breach or a serious procedural breach, there clearly needs to be a sporting penalty in these instances, as determined by the FIA.
“We suggest that the overspend should be penalised by way of a reduction to the team’s cost cap in the year following the ruling and the penalty should be equal to the overspend plus a further fine i.e. an overspend of $2M in 2021, which is identified in 2022, would result in a $4M deduction in 2023 ($2M to offset the overspend plus $2M fine).
“For context $2M is 25 – 50% upgrade to annual car development budget and hence would have a significant positive and long lasting benefit.”
Brown knew Red Bull had been deemed by the FIA to have overspent when writing the letter.
“The overspend breach, and possibly the procedural breaches, constitute cheating by offering a significant advantage across technical, sporting, and financial regulations.”
Yet when later confronted by Christian Horner who refuted the charge of “cheating”, Brown tried to claim his letter was intended to be read as a general comment not aimed specifically at Red Bull.
Clearly the FIA have only awarded Red Bull half of Brown’s suggested aero testing time reduction together with the second biggest F1 fine in history.
FIA ‘stronger’ sanctions required
The BBC’s Andrew Benson tweeted Zak Brown’s reaction to the FIA punishment handed out to Red Bull Racing.
“If the FIA is to be most effective and its punishments serve as a lesson to others when rules are broken in this way, the sanctions have to be much stronger in the future.
“While we are pleased to see them act, we would hope the FIA takes stronger action in future against those that wilfully break the rules.”
“We hope the lessons learned through this process will mean all teams have a clear understanding of the rules in order to avoid any future breaches.”
Red Bull penalty too light?
Clearly Zak brown feels Red Bull have escaped lightly and should have been hit harder by Formula one’s governing body. They did not reduce Red Bull’s budget cap as he suggested and awarded only half the aero penalty Brown had demanded.
The ambiguity of the financial regulations written by the FIA will have provided Red Bull with negotiating strength when discussing the matter with the FIA over the past week.
Further the threat of months of delay in resolving the matter were Red Bull to take recourse to a full legal review probably saw the FIA back down from its original planned penalty.
The ‘minor overspend’ category probably needs to be tightened and more specific penalties awarded should be outlined.
What advantage did Red Bull F1 gain?
Yet what actual lap time would Red Bull have gained by making a $2.4m overspend and how does this relate to aero testing time?
Different F1 team bosses have placed a range numbers to answer the question. Some have suggested a million dollars equates to 0.1 seconds per lap and this would require a 20% reduction in aero simulation time to reduce the effect of the 0.24 seconds Red Bull have benefited from.
Others suggest given the new car regulations the advantage is baked into the Red Bull until 2026 and so a 40% reduction in CFD/Wind Tunnel time would be more appropriate.
Yet given a large part of the $2.4m was an inappropriate accounting treatment of a tax credit rather than spending on actual car development.
The FIA only decided to punish Red Bull for the net overspent amount of just over $450,000 which equates to 4/100ths of a second.
Red Bull to lose 0.25-0.5s aero advantage
Christian Horner explained at a Red Bull press conference that in fact due to the immaturity of the current car designs under the
“We cannot do as many wind tunnel runs, we cannot do as many simulations. That will have a material affect on our performance.”
“Its difficult to put a lap time figure [on the reduced aero testing time] but one could assume whilst these regulations are still pretty immature and the development is still steep it could be anywhere between 0.25 and 0.5 of a second in lap time.”
“But what we’ve lost in ATR, we’ve gained in motivation,” Horner revealed with a grim stare.
Martin Brundle commented, “I think it’s about right, though a little light.”
Paul de Resta said, “it’s time ton put it to bed and move on.”
When pressed that Max and Red bull have claimed 3 championships due to the overspend, Brundle retorted “You can’t say that. It’s impossible to quantify.”
Horner penalty is ‘material’
Yet twitter has been flooded with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton supporters who were hoping Verstappen would be stripped of his 2021 title and Hamilton crowned as an 8 time world champion. They are furious with the FIA for “failing to do a proper job” said one commentator.
Horner was asked how he thought his peers would receive the news of the penalty.
“I’m sure for them it won’t be enough. I’m sure if you burnt our wind tunnel down – it wouldn’t be enough.”
“But this is a penalty the FIA… know the impact. On us. This has a material impact on our car performance for next year.”
Yet in the end, whatever Red bull’s rivals believe is right or wrong, finally the FIA have made a decision to put the matter to bed.
READ MORE: Mercedes ‘illegal’ upgrade row
Alpine Team Principal, Otmar Szafnauer, discusses Red Bull's cost cap breach and whether the punishment fits the crime 💬 pic.twitter.com/i7C96n9a9h
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) October 28, 2022
Zak Brown is saying what a lot of people have thought for years
Doesn’t Zacky baby use the Merc engines? The ones Merc cheated for years with the FIA turning a blind eye?
Shocking how the Crymilton and other looser teams are moaning about the VERY RULES AND PENALTIES THEY VOTED FOR! Not that they are STILL LOOSERS, they cry about their OWN rules, hehehehehe. Now cry about the nearly $50 MILLION Merc OVERSPENT on engines just attempting to catch the best of the best drivers out there – Max Verstappen
It’s a $500,000 overspend and not $2m. The FIA themselves said it was because they did not apply tax deductions correctly and if they had the overspend would have been much less.
I’m sorry, but a $500k overspend on a team that pays for its own engines is nothing.
You can’t tell me that merc isn’t shuffling funds with their engine program. Let alone giving costs to customer teams.
It seems the 10% aero penalty on top of the financial penalty for a $500k breach is quite extensive.
Zak brown is a businessman, he answers to Toto which sucks. Because I really can’t root for them anymore.
People are just angry because LULU and his bitch lost 🤣🤣 get over it! The LULU can have another go next year
Absolutely correct! Funny how the Crymiltons forget the cheating Merc and the FIA carried on for 10 years straight
Red Bull cheated. Doesn’t matter the fine. They cheated. That is what should be remembered. The buck stops at the top. Christian Horner knows every in and out of that team. He Cheated. What’s worse is they involved Max and now he is tarred with the same brush. There should be a special fine for CHEATING.
So, the 10 years Merc cheated WITH the help and approval of the FIA, do not count? Also, the FACT that NO team mate of Dufus Crymilton was allowed to race him for the championship AND the fact that the little crying whiner escaped 7 PENALTIES during 2021 does not count? Also the fact that Merc spent and EXTRA $10 MILLION per illegal engine just to try and catch up with RB and Max, do not count either? Keep crying, little one, you have a LOT to learn about how Merc cheated for 10 years just to give the entitled one his “championships”
Let’s deal with the present and make it better for the future. Learn from the past but don’t go back to it everytime to support your argument because we should’ve learnt from those past errors. Correct the present indiscretions. Make it clearer, fairer for the future.
So………you are happy with the bunch of Merc cheaters and Crymilton cheating his way to “7” titles then. I thought that might be the response from one of the crybaby whiner supporters
Why do you need to be so rude and insulting? People have opinions different to yours. You don’t shout back names it makes you seem childish.