Double F1 champion reveals if other teams will deliberately break cost cap

Red Bull have been fined $7m and had their windtunnel and CFD testing time cut by 10% for next year.

Many weeks ago it was rumoured that Red bull had breached the 2021 cost cap of $145m, leading to a barrage of accusations and name calling in the paddock.

The team were eventually found guilty by the FIA of a minor overspend and after a period of negotiation, have been fined $7m, which is to be paid by the end of November, and had their CFD and wind tunnel testing time for 2023 cut by 10%.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had initially suggested that should the punishment not suffice in Mercedes opinion, then they would not hesitate to breach the 2023 cost cap to help them get back to the top, happy to take a weak punishment on the chin.

The Austrian has now gone back on this idea since Red Bull have been punished, suggesting that there is more to it than just a sporting and financial penalty.

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“Whatever team you are, you’re responsible for representing a brand, your employees and your partners, and that’s why for us it wouldn’t be [something we would do],” he explained.

Wolff believes that the reputational damage caused would have a significant effect on the team, something that Christian Horner agrees with.

“We have taken a pounding from the accusations that the other teams have made. We’ve had our drivers booed at circuits. The reputational damage has been significant and the time for that to stop is now and move on,” said the Red Bull team principal.

The team found themselves in the middle of a media storm, with accusations of cheating and manipulation of the rules being thrown around, despite no confirmation from the FIA of what the breach actually was.

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F1 legend Mika Hakkinen has said that he is satisfied with how the FIA has handled the situation, praising them for being able to deter teams from breaching the cap in the future.

“The first thing to say is that I am glad this matter is now closed and the FIA’s penalty has been accepted by Red Bull,” he began.

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“With technical and sporting regulations you generally have a clear decision, for example if the car is under the weight limit or a driver goes outside the track limits, but with the financial regulations there was always likely to be a grey area.

“I think that is why everyone accepted two levels to breaking the budget cap – a minor or major overspend.

“The FIA recognised that there could be various levels of overspend and reasons for doing so. Red Bull’s penalty for the minor overspend is still significant. Far more than the financial or aerodynamic penalty, it has been an uncomfortable experience for the team.

“The good thing is that no team will want to risk repeating this next year, so although it has been a very difficult and controversial moment for Red Bull, I believe it will benefit F1 in the long term because every team boss will be determined not to have this kind of negative publicity in future.