Technical director Pierre Waché says Red Bull’s tech team saw the budget cap penalty as “a personal attack”, and it has motivated them to push harder.
Last year Red Bull were embroiled in a budget cap saga with the team found guilty of exceeding 2021’s limit by $2.2 million.
Red Bull blamed that on an unclaimed tax credit with the rest attributed to incorrectly filed gardening leave, sick pay and even lunch bills.
Budget cap penalty helped keep Red Bull hungry
The team was handed a $7m fine and also lost 10 per cent of this year’s wind tunnel testing time, the latter the more significant of the two punishments as Red Bull would already have less time than any other team on F1’s ATR sliding scale given they won 2022’s Constructors’ Championship.
Team boss Christian Horner called the penalty “draconian” and he was adamant it would have a huge impact on Red Bull’s 2023 car.
However, given that the RB19 is sitting on 12 wins from 12 races, rivals are once again questioning that with Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur telling Gazzetta dello Sport this past week that it was a “big joke”.
“A penalty like last year really isn’t severe,” he said. “If it should be necessary again, such a penalty should be much heavier. The deduction of 10 per cent wind tunnel time is a big joke. They have already done most of the work by then.”
Waché, though, doesn’t agree.
According to the rumoured Ferrari target, Vasseur is keen on bringing his compatriot over to Maranello, the penalty was a disadvantage but one that the Red Bull personnel used as motivation.
“In our situation, to be honest, it is a disadvantage for sure,” he told Autosport, “but it is an advantage to push the team to make sure that you don’t explore useless stuff.
“The efficiency of what you look at has to be reviewed, whereas before it was not as reviewed as much.
“It helps us also to be hungry because in the team and especially in the technical team, we don’t understand getting this kind of penalty because we have done a good job.
“They take it as a personal attack, so they will do even a better job, and the motivation is even higher. I think there is some advantage for that.”
Red Bull rumoured to be in the mix in the latest budget cap controversy
Almost 12 months on from Red Bull’s 2021 saga there is fresh controversy brewing, and it is said to once again involve the Milton Keynes squad.
While it had been rumoured that as many as three teams may have overspent last year, De Telegraaf’s Erik van Haren went on to name Red Bull and Mercedes.
“Red Bull and Mercedes, in particular, have received many questions about their submitted data”, questions that have led to raids he claims.
“During these ‘raids’, drawers are pulled open ruthlessly and everything was examined. Even WhatsApp messages and e-mails are viewed to see the conversations between two people and to see whether or not they have discussed something related to the Formula 1 team.”
Horner was quick to downplay the reports, adamant Red Bull’s “submitted figures were considerably below the ceiling” as “compared to other teams, we developed the car much less last year and we hardly had any damage from crashes.”
The FIA have not given a deadline to release their findings, motorsport’s governing body saying: “The timeframe is intentionally not fixed in order not to prejudice the robustness and the effectiveness of the review.”