Red Bull are gingerly on the edge of the biggest scandal in the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1, after being deemed guilty last Monday by the FIA of having breached the 2021 budget cap.
It had been expected that the Austrians would be found guilty, something the FIA confirmed on Monday when Red Bull weren’t awarded with a certificate of compliance in regard to the 2021 budget cap.
The FIA introduced a budget cap of £114 million last season, in a bid to close the field and also give each side the opportunity to spend the same amount, with Red Bull awaiting their penalty for exceeding the limit.
What that punishment will be is unknown; however, many across the paddock have called for a “hard” penalty, to send a message throughout the championship that the cap can’t be exceeded.
By exceeding the cap, Red Bull essentially cheated last season, a year which saw Max Verstappen claim the 2021 Drivers’ Championship.
The cap includes anything to do with the car (except the power unit) and areas such as catering, which a recent report suggested had been the reason for breaching the limit.
Many have asked for Verstappen to be stripped of his title but given that the breach has been classified as ‘minor’ this is all but certain to not happen.
A fine is believed to be the most likely penalty; what remains to be seen is if there is an additional punishment.
FIA vice president Robert Reid believes the whole breach saga has been talked about “too much” and thinks teams will “move on” quickly; however, Reid said this prior to the announcement that it was Red Bull who broke the cap.
“I think the unfortunate thing for me is there’s been so much speculation, and wild speculation,” Reid told Autosport.
“And that’s caused situations where potentially there’s even some reputational damage now, which is unfortunate.
“There’s been too much talk. Monday will come and go, and I’m sure we’ll quickly move on to the next year’s analysis. And we’ll see what comes.
“If there were to be any breaches, I think everybody knows what those breaches would be classified as in terms of procedural, minor and material.”
It is ridiculous that the 2021 championship finished 302 days ago and yet it is still a bigger talking point than this season, with the amount of time it’s taken the FIA to complete the financial reports being somewhat unacceptable.
Reid recognises that it has taken too long but is hopeful the extensive process will be “quicker” in the future.
“We certainly hope in years to come that it happens quicker than that has happened, now that we’ve walked through,” added Reid.
“But the clarifications that happen on the ’21 results are obviously valid for ’22 and ’23.”