Catering costs were among the issues in Red Bull’s budget-cap breach – and Jost Capito has explained some details of what can and cannot be included.
Red Bull exceeded the spending limit for 2021 by $2.2million, reduced to $432,000 by an unclaimed UK tax credit, and settled for an Accepted Breach Agreement that brought them a $7million fine and a 10% reduction in their wind tunnel and CFD development quota.
In a 13-point list of cost-cap misdemeanours published by the FIA, No 1 was “overstated excluded costs pursuant to Article 3.1(a) of the Financial Regulations (concerning catering services)”.
So where did Red Bull go wrong? Did they hand out too many cans of their product to thirsty paddock guests or over-indulge in caviar and champagne at Max Verstappen’s 2021 Drivers’ title party?
The full details have not been disclosed, of course, but Aston Martin, who were fined $450,000 for an administrative breach of the rules, also fell foul of the catering stipulations – with team principal Mike Krack admitting he had read the regulations but “I didn’t understand everything, to be honest”.
However, Capito, the Williams CEO and team principal, appears to have got his head around the catering costs side – just as well, too, considering his operation were fined $25,000 for submitting their financial documents after the deadline of March 31 2022.
“It’s tricky,” said the 64-year-old German, quoted by Motorsport-total.com.
“For example, if the team eat in the [paddock] hospitality for the evening, it falls under the cost cap. If they eat outside in a restaurant, it does not fall under the cost cap. These are still things that have to be clarified in the regulations.
“For the team, it is much cheaper, simpler and less complicated if they eat in the hospitality and there is less risk. And yet you can’t do that because then it falls under the cost cap and if you eat outside, it doesn’t.
“And that is known, and the issues are also worked through and for next year it is a different situation.
“There are modifications where the teams agree and work together on it. And that is certainly necessary. The cost-cap regulations are so complicated you can’t get them 100% right straight away and I’m sure they will get much better over the years.”
Capito agreed with Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer in thinking Red Bull had been penalised proportionately.
“Yes, I think it’s okay,” he said. “You have to say it was the first time, the first year of a cost cap. And to argue now whether it should have been a little bit more, a little bit less in the penalty, I don’t think that makes any sense at all.
“It is what it is now and so there is a precedent and I think that’s absolutely fine.”