F1 News: McLaren CEO tells FIA that Red Bull budget cap breach "constitutes cheating" – Sports Illustrated

Zak Brown wants Red Bull to receive financial and sporting penalties.
McLaren's CEO Zak Brown has issued a strongly-written letter to the FIA, calling for significant financial and sporting penalties if teams commit a breach of the budget cap. 
The FIA recently confirmed rumours that Red Bull overspent on the budget cap in the 2021 season, describing the Austrian team's transgression as "procedural and minor overspend breaches."
Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto are already pilling pressure on the FIA to swiftly and adequately punish Red Bull for overspending, but it is Zak Brown's letter that serves as the most unequivocal stance on overspending.
Zak Brown does not explicitly mention Red Bull in this letter, likely in an attempt to stress that he believes such a response is necessary for any team that exceeds the budget cap. 
In Zak Brown's letter, provided in a report from the BBC, he writes the following:
"The overspend breach, and possibly the procedural breaches, constitute cheating by offering a significant advantage across technical, sporting and financial regulations. 
"The FIA has run an extremely thorough, collaborative and open process. We have even been given a one-year dress rehearsal [2020], with ample opportunity to seek any clarification if details were unclear. 
"So, there is no reason for any team now to say they are surprised. 
"The bottom line is any team who has overspend has gained an unfair advantage both in the current and following year's car development.
"We don't feel a financial penalty alone would be a suitable penalty for an overspend breach or a serious procedural breach. There clearly needs to be a sporting penalty in these instances, as determined by the FIA. 
"We suggest that the overspend should be penalised by way of a reduction to the team's cost cap in the year following the ruling, and the penalty should be equal to the overspend plus a further fine
"I.e, an overspend of $2 million in 2021, which is identified in 2022, would result in a $4 million deduction in 2023. ($2 million to offset the overspend plus a $2 million fine).
"For context, $2 million is 25-50% [of an] upgrade to annual car-development budget and hence would have a significant positive and long-lasting benefit. 
"In addition, we believe there should be minor penalties of a 20% reduction in CFD and wind tunnel time. These should be enforced in the following year to mitigate against the unfair advantage the team has and will continue to benefit from."
"To avoid teams accumulating and benefiting from the multiplier effect of several minor overspend breaches, we suggest that a second minor overspend breach automatically moves the team to a major breach. 
"Finally, given the financials involved, a 5% threshold for a minor overspend breach seems far too large of a variance. We suggest a lower threshold, 2.5%, is more appropriate.
"It is paramount that the cost cap continues to be governed in a highly transparent manner, both in terms of the details of any violations and related penalties."
The FIA faces a crucial decision regarding Red Bull's breach, as the penalty they enforce will set a precedent for future transgressions of the budget cap. 
For the budget cap to function as an effective mechanism, the punishment for exceeding it must be significant enough that teams are deterred from repeating it in the future. 
Teams with the financial resources of Mercedes and Ferrari will be more than happy to ignore the budget cap in the future if the FIA's punishment for breaching it only constitutes a fine. 
It is, therefore, unsurprising that other teams want Red Bull's breach to be met with severe punishment to maintain the legitimacy and functionality of the newly implemented cap. 
Formula 1 has committed to enforcing the budget cap, and it must now take the appropriate steps to ensure its relevancy and importance are not degraded. 


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