Red Bull may have listed Adrian Newey as a contractor so that they would not have to include him in their expenditure summary.
This is according to a report by Auto Motor und Sport, who also revealed that Newey is not one of the team’s three top earners.
Those three, as well as the drivers, which in this case are Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, are not counted in the cost cap, which is designated for money spent on the cars.
The $145 million budget limit was introduced in 2021 having been agreed and signed in 2019, with specific areas of the team’s spending being reviewed at the end of each season.
In short terms, the money spent on developing, transporting and fixing the car are all counted, and this includes money spent on the engineers and mechanics working on them.
Hiring a contractor is not counted in the main budget cap, says the report, presumably because Red Bull managed to find a loophole in the regulations.
If that does prove to be the case, then outsourcing of work will likely be tightened up in next year’s financial regulations.
On Monday, Red Bull were found to have overspent last season, but if that report from AMUS is to be believed – and they are a reliable source – it is very possible that they might even have spent more than the $147 million that was estimated by de Telegraaf.
A minor breach of the rules will likely constitute a fine, while action will be taken by the FIA going into next year regarding payments made to contractors, if that loophole existed, and was exploited by Red Bull.
Aston Martin were also found to have breached the rules last year, but theirs was a procedural breach.
The FIA have not yet disclosed a punishment for the British side, indicating that they, much like Red Bull, do not accept the charges.