Formula 1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds has agreed with comments made by new Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur, with the Frenchman having called for a crucial change to be made to the current budget cap system.
The budget cap was introduced in 2021 to limit how much a team could spend on development and other factors, such as catering and personnel; however, Red Bull still managed to breach the limit in its first year of operation.
Despite having breached the 2021 cap, it wasn’t announced by the FIA until after the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix that the Austrians had made a ‘minor’ breach of the 2021 limit, whilst their punishment was revealed a couple of weeks later.
It meant that it took the governing body almost 12 months to identify a breach and announce a punishment accordingly, with Vasseur having called for action to be taken “much earlier”.
Red Bull were fined $7 million and slapped with a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research, meaning they’ll receive less wind tunnel time in 2023.
Whilst this might sound harsh, Vasseur doesn’t believe the punishment is severe enough and had urged for the FIA to be “more strict”.
Symonds agrees that to know the facts faster would be “really nice”, but that as it stands it’s not possible.
“I do agree that it would be really nice if we absolutely knew the budget numbers looked like in real-time,” Symonds told Total-Motorsport.com.
“Maybe we can get to that it’s not quite there yet.”
Red Bull being deemed as having made a ‘minor’ breach of the cap was also something that caused uproar, as it led to the discussion over what the difference was between a ‘minor’ and a ‘major’ breach, with many arguing that a breach of the cap is still a breach no matter how big or small the margin is.
“Where we have to work today, firstly, it was far too long,” Vasseur told Motorsport.com.
“We need to find a way to have a red light before, or to be able to take action much earlier. And we have to probably be a bit more strict on the decision.
“Okay, perhaps this was the first one, but from now we have to forget about minor and major. Because for me, two or three million, it’s not minor, it’s mega, for development.
“I think we have to be much more strict and much more quick on the action.”
Despite most being unhappy at how lightly Red Bull were punished, the team are still expected to suffer from their wind tunnel penalty in particular, with their mid-season upgrades likely to be affected.
“It would be quite hard to calculate because when you have a new set of regulations, then the rate of development is very high,” Symonds added.
“So every 100 wind tunnel runs you do, you expect a couple of points of downforce normally and probably more than that in the regulations. So yeah, they will feel it definitely.”