Ex-F1 driver urges FIA to slap Max Verstappen and Red Bull with ‘hard penalty’

Red Bull could get away with just a fine for breaching the 2021 budget cap.

Ex-Formula 1 driver turned pundit, Martin Brundle, has called upon the FIA to award a harsh penalty to Red Bull, in response to the Austrians having been deemed guilty of exceeding the 2021 budget cap.

The budget cap was introduced for the first-time last season, in a bid to close the field both in terms of performance and financial capability.

A cap of £114 million was introduced last season, with that money to be spent on everything to do with the car (except the power unit), as well as other smaller details like catering and the majority of their employees’ wages.

Red Bull have been found guilty of having breached this cap last year, with it having been declared by the FIA last Monday as a ‘minor’ breach.

READ: George Russell not backing down from criticism of Mercedes

Many reports are under the impression that the Constructors’ leaders breached the cap by up to £1.8 million; however, it could be less.

Some reports have also added that the team are believed to have overspent on catering rather than components for their 2021 car, which Max Verstappen drove on his way to the Drivers’ Championship.

With it being just a ‘minor’ breach, a fine and potentially a resource reduction of some sort is the most probable punishment, which the FIA will announce in due course.

Nevertheless, Red Bull did technically cheat in 2021, with them having spent over the limit which all the other teams stuck to.

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Brundle wants the FIA to demonstrate the severity of breaching the budget cap by awarding a “hard penalty” and not letting them off lightly.

“Not really no,” Brundle told Sky Sports.

“As long as it [the budget cap] is controlled and as long as the penalties are crystal clear, and hard enough.

“I think it’s fundamentally a good system and it is early stages, we have to remember that.

“It’s just the detail now and it’s got to be made clear that you stick to the cost cap or just under it otherwise, it’s going to hurt.

“What seems crazy to me is that a minor breach can be up to 5% overspend on the cost cap. That’s around $7million. We know that’s a massive upgrade on a car, maybe even a B-spec for some teams.

“It needs tightening up because the other teams will be under pressure. The team boss will be saying, ‘why didn’t you do this? Why don’t you overspend a bit and pay a fine or get a slap on the wrist and go a tenth or two faster?'”

Interestingly, Brundle would like to see a rule introduced where it is the team principals who are punished if their side overspends.

Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto have both expressed that Red Bull need to be punished heavily, with Brundle believing that all the team principals, including, Christian Horner, need to sign a “document to comply with the rules”.

“I think that the corporate governance of somebody like Mercedes for example, is such that they just can’t be seen to be breaching something like this,” added Brundle.

“I think that needs to be the same for all the teams.

READ: Christian Horner admitted Red Bull would breach the budget cap

“I understand it to be the case that somebody like Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal] has to sign a document to comply with the rules.

“Christian Horner at Red Bull and all the key personnel, all the financial personnel, should be personally locked into this.

“I think that’s a critical area so that they’re personally responsible and accountable, as well as their company in being transparent and honest and accurate with these numbers.”