F1 boss calls on FIA to increase Red Bull punishment

Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the paddock following the rows over Red Bull breaking the Formula One cost cap in 2021, it appears the matter for some is not yet put to bed. Following being found in breach of the spending allowance the Milton Keynes outfit were fined $7,000,000 and given a 10% reduction in aero testing time.

Red Bull were declared in breach the day following the Japanese GP, yet the process agreed by the teams and the FIA to deal with such a transgression took another 17 days before both parties announced the agreed settlement.



Teams pressure the FIA decision

In that time Zak Brown had written to the FIA demanding any team in breach of the 2021 financial regulations receive a 25% reduction in aero testing and a reduction in the following seasons budget as punishment.

The actual Red Bull overspend breach after complicated adjustments for tax credits was eventually revealed to be under $500,000 which was just 0.37% over the cost cap limit.

Accordingly the governing body of Formula One issued the second largest fine in Formula One’s history, the reduction in aero testing time but no reduction in the teams spending limit for the following season.

The FIA had taken more than twice as long to audit the 10 teams 2021 figures than originally proposed. Their findings should have been revealed by June this season but were more than 3 months late.



Cost Cap rules agreed by the teams

All the teams agreed back in 2020 that any minor breach of the cost cap would then be resolved by an “Accepted Breach Agreement” (ABA) process whereby the team(s) in breach would explain the mitigating circumstances for their misdemeanour and a penalty would be proposed by the FIA and accepted by the team(s).

This process resulted in the announcement of Red Bull’s penalty during the run up to the Mexican GP.

However, the ABA must be enacted within 30 days of the announcement which sees Red Bull pay the fine and make a contractual commitment to the other aspects of the punishment.

Given the ABA may yet be enacted, it appears at least 1 team boss believes there is time for a stricter punishment to be administered by the FIA.



Steiner wants additional punishment for Red Bull

Guenther Steiner of Haas F1 now claims to RTL that the current punishment and fine “doesn’t hurt” Red Bull enough. He has called on the FIAfor Red Bull Racing to be stripped of this seasons maximum budget spending allowance.

“There are still opportunities to develop somewhere else, development hasn’t stopped,” observes Steiner. 

The reason for this is the teams are still spending their 2022 budget on developing their cars for next season.

“It was just moved to a different area for the vehicle: you can work on the weight, you can do so much with the money. Seven million dollars is a lot of money. But it doesn’t hurt them.”

“If you had said, for example: Next year you will have five million dollars less available than all other teams in the budget cap – I’ll name a number now, I don’t want to stick to it.” 



Too late to change the rules

There are two problems with the FIA now introducing budget restrictions on Red Bull for their 2022 spend.

There are just two races left this year and much of the development budget may already be committed to production and 3rd parties who develop technical solutions for Formula One teams.

Further, it was the teams who allowed for the ‘minor spend’ regulatory category to be set so high at $7.25m because they were worried that a few big crashes towards the end of the F1 calendar would force teams over the cost cap and de facto place them in breach.

Further, had the FIA reported in June as scheduled, at least a budget cut would only affect this seasons production. For context, Mercedes spent around $450,000 on four front wings to use in Austin which were deemed illegal.



Ferrari believe Red Bull can still benefit

Ferrari boss Laurent Mekies raised the issue that Red Bull would merely use the money saved from the reduced aero testing time to develop the car in other areas such as improved susopensio or weight reduction.

Yet again it was the teams when the financial regulations were being formed who insisted that a ‘minor breach’ accepted via the process of an ABA removed the option of a team being forced into taking a reduced budget for the following season.

However, the FIA did not have an option of reducing Red Bull’s future spending limit within the Accepted Breach Agreement the team signed up to. Mekies has warned this was a “weakness” and something which needed to change for future rule breakers.

Mekies believes this should be re-examined: “It is not something that was available to the FIA if they were going down the route of the ABA. This is unfortunately one of the weaknesses of the regulations that they have written, and yes, I think it probably needs to be reviewed in the future.”



No budget cut regulated for a ‘minor breach’

However, realistically the Formula One financial regulations can now only be re-written for 2024 given it would take unanimous agreement from the teams.

The FIA can only change the rules for the following season in a unilateral fashion on the grounds of “safety”. This was done to ensure the drivers were not suffering sustained injuries from the extreme bouncing early this year. 

A Technical Directive came into force at the Belgium GP for the teams to modify their floors in an effort to stop them experiencing high vertical G Forces from porpoising or bouncing.

In conclusion the Formula One financial regulations and penalties were formulated via a working party which included bot the FIA and the teams. Complaining they are badly written and need to be modified merely reflects badly on all concerned.

READ MORE: Adrian Newey’s wife slams ‘toxic journalism’

8 responses to “F1 boss calls on FIA to increase Red Bull punishment

  1. Is there a Haas team in F1? This moron wont even get his ox wagons up to RB speed with 5 times the budget. He should focus on his junk and make it faster than bother to complain about a team who spent $500000 over budget and presented a championship winning car. If Dufus Crymilton took his jewellery off his illegal car would gave been 0.4 seconds per lap faster. The jewellery attached to his little smelly oyster should have been taken off long ago. Where is the penalty for this arrogant whiner?

  2. These team bosses are embarrassing whingers ….. they check the rules, agree the rules and the punishments for overstepping said rules – then whine forever more because another team hasn’t been brought to their knees and are ahead of them in the game! For God’s sake – just listen to yourselves and picture how this affects the fans’ views of you, and F1 as a whole. Shameful!

  3. In other sports if you are caught cheating you’re disqualified…so red bull should be disqualified for last season…

    • Then a lot of teams should have been disqualified over the years including Mercedes and Ferrari. And cheating is not the right term to use in this case.

  4. After failing to defeat Red Bull on the track some poor competitors are looking for any other way to defeat this superior team!! Shame of you Haas officials!! Focus on improving your junk!!

  5. Where do these team bosses get their entitlement from to make demands to the FIA and F1? And I mean all off them!!!
    If you are not in the know about facts, details or figures, keep your mouth shut as all they do is vomit out deflections of their own shortcomings. Hey Zac, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. You can always step away from F1 if you don’t like it, but if the team is not performing, maybe you are not doing your job well for the massive amount your getting for it. Your certainly not working for minimum wage.
    The more waves are created, the more the fans are fired up and things can get ugly real quick.
    Don’t let the sport suffer due to incompetence of management, keep the poison to your self, that is part and parcel of the job.
    FIA get your act together and start running the show and don’t be deterred by moaning Minnie’s.
    Sport is hard as there can be only one winner, this creates the competiveness amongst sports people and at the top of the game it can be excruciatingly painful if you loose, but it’s only sport, it does not make you a lesser person.
    Let’s just enjoy the sport, cheer on your favorite and keep it clean and fun.

  6. Since when has it been that those who broke the rules help to decide on what the punishment should be , if I break laws the punishment is handed down to me no mater what ,I have no say so why dose RB get a say in it , I like RB but cheating is cheating this punishment dose not fit the crime.

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