Red Bull are the only team to have been found to have overspent on the 2021 budget cap, and the FIA have a number of possible options in front of them in terms of punishments.
The FIA’s long-awaited 2021 financial reports found nine of the 10 teams had been found to have come under the $145m spending limit for the 2021 season, with Red Bull found to have committed a minor overspend breach – which means they went over their total allowance for the year by up to 5% ($7.25m).
Aston Martin were found culpable of a procedural breach in the FIA’s report, though their spending remained below the cap.
Due to the nature of Red Bull’s breaking of the budget limit, under the FIA’s regulations on the cost cap they will either be issued with a fine or a Minor Sporting Penalty.
The FIA confirmed this had yet to be decided, saying in a statement: “The FIA Cost Cap Administration is currently determining the appropriate course of action to be taken under the Financial Regulations with respect to Aston Martin and Red Bull and further information will be communicated in compliance with the Regulations.”
The eventual penalty given to Red Bull will be chosen from the following:
– Public reprimand
– Deduction of Constructors’ Championship points awarded for the Championship that took place within the Reporting Period of the breach
– Deduction of Drivers’ Championship points awarded for the Championship that took place within the Reporting Period of the breach
– Suspension from one or more stages of a Competition or Competitions, excluding for the avoidance of doubt the race itself
– Limitations on ability to conduct aerodynamic or other testing; and/or reduction of the Cost Cap provided that the reduction specified shall only be applied with respect to the year following the punishment being handed out
Red Bull express ‘surprise and disappointment’ at overspend reports
Given the closeness of the 2021 World Championship fight, the possibility of a points deduction could threaten the status of Max Verstappen’s title from last season.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had vehemently denied reports which suggested the team had overspent by as much as $10m in 2021, prompting Mercedes and Ferrari to make calls for strong action from the FIA if the team were found to have breached cost cap regulations.
“They are hugely defamatory,” Horner said of the rumours in Singapore.
“We take umbrage to them. And one can only assume it’s not coincidence that this is the point where Max has his first strike at the World Championship.
“So unless there is a clear withdrawal of those statements, we will be taking it incredibly seriously and looking at what the options available to us are.”
The team stand by their claim that their “relevant costs” were within the budgetary constraints of Formula 1, saying in a statement after the cost cap report was announced:
“We note the findings by the FIA of ‘minor overspend breaches of the financial regulations’ with surprise and disappointment,” said the team.
“Our 2021 submission was below the cost cap limit, so we need to carefully review the FIA’s findings as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost cap amount.
“Despite the conjecture and positioning of others, there is of course a process under the regulations with the FIA which we will respectfully follow while we consider all the options available to us.”
The sport’s first cost cap report was due to have been released on Wednesday October 5 but was delayed by five days due to the “long and complex” process involved.