Helmut Marko reveals why Red Bull didn’t fight FIA penalty

Red Bull were found guilty of a minor breach of the 2021 budget cap last month.

Red Bull have been the talk of the paddock since the Singapore Grand Prix, where it was leaked that the team were under investigation for a potential breach of the 2021 cost cap.

Max Verstappen won the drivers’ championship last year on the final lap of the final race, leading other teams to believe that Red Bull’s breach may have been performance based and given them the necessary advantage over Mercedes.

This was found to be untrue, as the FIA announced that they had found the team guilty of multiple minor breaches, mainly down to an incorrect logging of tax, rather than an intentional attempted manipulation of the rules.

The team were eventually fined $7m to be paid by November along with having their wind tunnel testing time for 2023 reduced by ten per cent, a punishment which team principal Christian Horner called draconian.

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Red Bull did have the option of rejecting the punishment and taking the case to a panel of adjudicators, but chose not to, a decision which chief advisor Helmut Marko has said was to avoid a drawn out legal battle.

“I agree with Christian Horner, who spoke of ‘draconian’ and estimates that we lose two to five-tenths per lap,” he said.

“The key will be to work even more efficiently to offset the disadvantage… We accepted the penalty because we wanted to avoid a possible year-long legal battle.”

The problem that Red Bull will face is the fact that they will have significantly less testing time for 2023 than their rivals, partly down to their punishment but also because of the way it is distributed based on finishing positions.

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Because the team won the constructors’ championship this year they were already set to have the least amount of aerodynamic testing time, with it being scaled down to last placed Williams getting the most.

It is rumoured that Red Bull will have 15 per cent less testing time than Ferrari, and a massive 21 per cent less than Mercedes.

With Christian Horner claiming that the penalty could cost Red Bull up to half a second of lap time, Ferrari and Mercedes will be hoping that they can solve their respective issues and take advantage of the wounded champions.