Dhe cost cap administrator of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) published its verdict in the Red Bull case this Friday. The team had been accused of exceeding the budget limit of $ 149 million (around 149 million euros) in 2021. According to the FIA, the Brause Group exceeded the target by 1.864 million euros.
The FIA punishes this violation with a fine of seven million euros. In addition, Red Bull will be required to reduce its wind tunnel hours by 10 percent and the use of CFD technology in building the race car to a certain key over a period of twelve months. Opponents such as Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes recently stated that Red Bull had gained a performance advantage with the overdraft.
Red Bull’s chief driver Max Verstappen won the Drivers’ World Championship by a wide margin a few weeks ago. Last weekend, the team also won the constructors’ championship ahead of schedule and comfortably.
What does more money in the till mean?
It is the birth defect of motorsport that lap time can be bought. This is due to the complexity of the sports equipment. More money in the till means more people, more ideas, more tools. And it means the richest teams have the better drivers, better engineers, and better strategists in their ranks. When an American company, Liberty, took over Formula 1, it was clear that this vicious circle had to be broken. Following the example of the American sports leagues, where a salary cap for the whole team prevents one or two clubs from employing all the superstars, a budget cap has been decided for 2021.
Any rule is only good if compliance can be monitored. That’s why the first audit of Formula 1 was so important. The unanimous opinion before the first financial audit was that the violations should be severely punished. Since rumors of violations have been circulating, the perpetrators have tried to present themselves as victims of a system that has not yet matured. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner went on the attack. He criticized the different interpretations of what are relevant costs and what are not, he criticized the late submission of the test report and too little feedback from the cost controllers.
It was about items such as canteen food, sick leave or unused spare parts, which Red Bull apparently attributed to items that are not subject to the cost cap, but should be. “We already submitted our cost statement in March, but only received feedback from the FIA in September. There were different interpretations on some points.”
From the FIA it can be heard that the remaining nine teams interpreted the cost allocation as stated in the regulations and guidelines and that only Red Bull had their own ideas. Allegedly, the Red Bull financial experts only read through the regulations and not the guidelines, which state how the FIA experts evaluate each individual item. And an opposing team now said after listing the misconduct: “In 75 percent of these cases there is no difference of opinion. It must be absolutely clear to everyone how these items are offset.”