Mika Hakkinen believes ‘negative publicity’ will prevent repeat of cost cap breaches

Sam Cooper
Logo illustration for Red Bull Racing at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Logo illustration for Red Bull Racing.

Mika Hakkinen believes the “negative publicity” that Red Bull have received for their cost cap breach will discourage any team from doing the same in the future.

After a month of speculation, the fines handed to both Red Bull and Aston Martin were made public over the course of the Mexican Grand Prix weekend.

Aston Martin received a fine of $450,000 for their ‘procedural’ breach while Red Bull’s ‘minor’ overspend saw them hit with a fine of $7 million and a loss of 10 per cent of their 2023 wind tunnel time.

Hakkinen said he was happy to see the issue put to bed and said that with any new budget cap, there was “always likely to be a grey area.”

“The first thing to say is that I am glad this matter is now closed and the FIA’s penalty accepted by Red Bull,” he told Unibet.

“With technical and sporting regulations you generally have a clear decision, for example if the car is under the weight limit or a driver goes outside the track limits, but with the financial regulations there was always likely to be a grey area.

“I think that is why everyone accepted two levels to breaking the budget cap – a minor or major overspend. The FIA recognised that there could be various levels of overspend and reasons for doing so.”

Debate has been raging as to whether Red Bull’s fine is a fair one. Toto Wolff gave his opinion as did McLaren’s Zak Brown but Hakkinen said it is not the financial nor is it the sporting penalty that will make other teams think twice about doing something similar.

“Red Bull’s penalty for the minor overspend is still significant. Far more than the financial or aerodynamic penalty, it has been an uncomfortable experience for the team.

“The good thing is that no team will want to risk repeating this next year, so although it has been a very difficult and controversial moment for Red Bull, I believe it will benefit F1 in the long term because every team boss will be determined not to have this kind of negative publicity in future.”

Hakkinen also praised Red Bull after their driver Max Verstappen achieved a record of 14 wins in a single season and said the team were in the perfect position of having “total confidence” in themselves.

“It has been an incredible season for Max and the Red Bull team,” the 54-year-old said. “They are in that perfect position of having total confidence in themselves, their car and race strategy.

“To win 14 Grands Prix in one season is crazy, something we have never seen before. It’s a fantastic achievement for Max and his team – and they can easily add to that in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. When you look at Sergio Perez’s result, finishing 3rd, it shows how tight the margins really are. Max is on a different level.”