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How much Red Bull overspent by after FIA confirms breach of regulations – iNews

Red Bull have been found guilty of breaching Formula One’s new budget cap just 24 hours after Max Verstappen secured his second world championship.
Victory at soaking Suzuka ensured Verstappen had successfully defended his title, but celebrations were dampened on Monday when F1’s governing body confirmed a “minor” overspend during the 2021 season, where teams where limited to $147m (£133m).
The breach is said to be in the lower of the two categories, meaning it is less than five per cent of the cost cap, or $7.25m, while Red Bull have also been found to have committed “procedural” breaches of the financial regulations.
An FIA statement said: “With respect to this first year of the application of the financial regulations, the intervention of the FIA cost-cap administration has been limited to reviewing the submissions made by the competitors and that no full formal investigations were launched.”
Red Bull responded with a statement of their own, saying: “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.”
Aston Martin and Williams were also both found to have committed procedural breaches.
Red Bull’s infraction concerns accounting from last year, when Verstappen edged out Lewis Hamilton in one of the most dramatic and controversial finishes to a season in memory.
“What I can say is I remember last year in Silverstone we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it,” said Hamilton last week, before the findings were published.
“But then we would see Red Bull every weekend or every other weekend bringing upgrades. They had, I think, at least four more upgrades from that point.
“If we spent £300,000 on a new floor, or adapted a wing, it would have changed the outcome of the championship naturally because we would have been in better competition in the next race if you add it on.”
By Kevin Garside, i‘s chief sports correspondent
The FIA have yet to determine what penalty applies, but, choosing from a menu that starts with a slap on the wrist and escalates to a fine, points deduction, race ban or a curtailed testing, it won’t make a difference to this year’s championship or last.
Because little is known about the audit process, we must take on trust the veracity of outcomes. But trust in an environment as competitive as Formula One is a rare commodity. By not delivering a sanction along with their findings the FIA invites the teams to pile in with their own suggestions. Moreover, coming on the back of the unsatisfactory prosecution of Sunday’s chaotic Japanese Grand Prix, the late delivery of the results deepens the sense that the FIA is no longer fit for purpose in this modern, expansive era of grand prix racing.
Measuring the benefit of each dollar spent yields different results depending on a team’s proximity to the title race. Not surprisingly Mercedes and Ferrari have been the most outspoken following the revelation in the Italian media before the Singapore Grand Prix that Red Bull were guilty of cost cap violations.
Red Bull could be as much as $7.25m over the limit. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto suggested a $5m overspend would make a car half a second quicker. Break that down and we are talking a $1m per tenth, which in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix would have been enough to put both Ferraris ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who claimed pole by a hundredth of a second from Charles Leclerc and five hundredths of a second from Carlos Sainz.
F1 is the ultimate aggregator of tiny margins in pursuit of glory. You can imagine how aggrieved Mercedes might be were Red Bull assessed the full five per cent margin, which by Binotto’s calculation would have given them an advantage of more than seven tenths a lap.
Since Red Bull expressed shock and indignation at the very idea they might be guilty we can expect a robust response, which could even reach the FIA’s international court of appeal were team principal Christian Horner and the team’s elders so minded. Speaking to the BBC’s Radio Four Today programme on the morning of the announcement Horner said: “We’re very confident we’re within the cap. We’ve been shocked at the speculation and accusations that have been made by other teams. Anything other than compliance we’ll be extremely surprised at.”
Though the findings refer only to the 2021 accounts that were submitted in March this year, both Ferrari and Mercedes were at pains to argue that any advantage gained last season would necessarily carry over into this. Had Red Bull gone over the five per cent margin that position might have carried more force. As things stand Red Bull will not be subject to retrospective penalties and since they won this year’s championship by such a wide margin any points penalties or race exclusions this season are unlikely to have a material bearing.
By Michael Hincks
The budget cap was introduced as a response to the soaring costs of competing in Formula One. The sport had long had an eye on spending habits that grew in the years of plenty to reach annual outlays by the big dogs – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – of more than $300m a year.
This not only disfigured the competition, forcing once great institutions like McLaren and Williams to the bottom of the field and others out of the sport all together, it became unsustainable in the post-Covid landscape. The budget cap was eventually announced in 2019 for launch in 2021 to contain costs and address the competitive imbalance.
An initial cap of $175m was set for 2021 based on a 21-race season. That was reduced to $145m as a consequence of Covid, falls to $140m this year and reduces to $135m from 2023-25. Allowance will be made for the increase to a 24-race calendar.
All rights reserved. © 2021 Associated Newspapers Limited.

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