Red Bull believes that several teams could exceed the 2022 budget cap due to inflation, including rising energy prices.
The FIA recently confirmed that Red Bull had exceeded the 2021 budget cap of $145 million in a so-called ‘minor’ overspend. The Austrian team has been fined $7 million for the breach and will have to reduce aerodynamic testing in 2023.
Helmut Marko now believes that six teams could be over the 2022 budget cap despite its increase:
“I think the current situation is that six teams are above it,” Marko told German newspaper Auto Motor und Sport, when asked if teams could struggle to meet their budgets this year.
We don’t expect to be affected
Indeed, there is a belief at Red Bull that inflation could have an impact on some (unnamed) teams, mainly those based in Britain.
“Inflation is something that has been difficult to calculate up to now, especially when it comes to energy costs,” explained the Austrian.
Team Principal Christian Horner also believes that several teams could be affected by the budget overrun: “The danger for 2022 is that there could be six teams that exceed the cap,” he said.
“Energy prices have gone up exponentially, but fortunately, as far as we are concerned, we are protected.”
“There is a risk of several teams going over the cap this year and we don’t expect to be affected in 2022.”
“The 2021 penalties set a precedent for the future. So if you get a 10% penalty [of less aero testing] for a 0.37% overrun, what will a 5% overrun look like? The FIA has set a precedent with us and what amounts to a 0.37% overrun,” explained Christian Horner.
“So the FIA has taken a firm and aggressive stance on this to show that it will take a hard line on any infringement,” concluded the Red Bull team boss.
Red Bull walloped with penalties
Red Bull was slapped with a $7m fine for the breach, which was found to have been £1.8m, as well as a 10% reduction in its aerodynamic testing allowance for the next 12 months.
The FIA noted in its report that Red Bull acted in “good faith”, listing a number of areas that the team interpreted incorrectly and led to its breach.
Horner called the $7m fine “an enormous amount of money”, but felt the limit on aerodynamic testing and development for next year was “the more draconian part” of the sanction.
“I’ve heard people reporting today that’s an insignificant amount,” said Horner in Mexico.
“I can tell you now, that is an enormous amount. That represents anywhere between a quarter and half a second’s worth of lap time. That comes in from now, that has a direct effect on next year’s car, and will be in place for a 12-month period.
“By winning the constructors’ championship, we become victims of our own success, in addition to that 10%, having 5% incremental disadvantage or handicap compared to the second and third place.
“That 10% put into reality will have impact on our ability to perform on-track next year.”
Clearly Horner and Red Bull are angling for a similar penalty to be slapped onto other teams for breaches.