The words “earthquake”, “stolen” and “capital offence” are being bandied around with a fresh report claiming Red Bull exceeded last year’s budget cap by “10 million dollars”.
Friday’s five million already had Red Bull’s rivals up in arms.
Having won last year’s Drivers’ Championship title, Red Bull are on course for the double this season, the Milton Keynes squad dominating at the start of Formula 1’s all-new ground-effect aerodynamic era.
But it is now being alleged they are doing so after gaining an unfair advantage last season by exceeding the budget cap.
It could, claims Auto Motor und Sport, “lead to an earthquake” as rival teams are angry the Milton Keynes squad have “stolen an advantage”.
And it is a bigger one than initially reported.
“Figures are circulating in the paddock that Red Bull could have exceeded 10 million dollars,” writes Andreas Haupt. “That would be a capital offence.
“That amount could employ 100 engineers for $100,000. That would inevitably increase the output of the development department. Ten million…many teams don’t even have that much budget for mid-season upgrades.”
Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur told the German publication: “We only have 2.4 million to develop our car during the year.”
The Frenchman has called for the FIA to throw the book at any team, Aston Martin also reportedly on the list, found guilty of breaching the cap.
He feels if teams can be disqualified for car infringements that are deemed advantageous, then surely those who overspend should face a similar punishment.
“You can be disqualified from a race for 0.9 millimetres of front flap deflection, as we were two years ago,” he told Motorsport.com. “[And] if you are 300 grams under the weight, you are excluded.
“On the other hand, if you can spend millions for updates for X races, it’s completely unfair.
“If something like this happened, for sure the FIA will have to take action.
“You have to understand that sometimes with €200,000 you can bring a big update. And if you overshoot the budget by this, it’s a couple of tenths for more than one race.”
Haas boss Guenther Steiner suggests disqualification as a punishment.
“When we had to turn in our accounting, that was one of the things which was discussed,” said the Italian. “So how do you deal with it, if someone breached it, a year after?
“It was always going to happen. But in the end, if you now take the World Championship result away from last year, who cares?
“The only thing will be the financial benefit they had by being in a certain position. If they are disqualified, everybody else who is behind them will be laughing. And that’s where we are.
“I mean, if you breach it, and the regulations say the penalty needs to be this one, it needs to be this one because in the end we are talking about money.”