‘It doesn’t hurt them’: Haas demand harsher penalty against Red Bull

Red Bull have been fined $7m and had their windtunnel testing time cut by 10% for 2023.

The ‘Cashgate’ saga is finally over, with Red Bull having been found guilty of a minor breach of the 2021 budget cap, and being punished with a $7m fine and a 10% cut in their wind tunnel testing time for 2023.

Red Bull had originally been accused in the media of spending over the budget cap to fund a performance upgrade for their 2021 car, helping Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the title.

However, the FIA have revealed that the energy drink giants actually only overspent by $2.2m, and this would have only been half a million if they had filed their tax reports correctly.

Toto Wolff has suggested that Red Bull have been appropriately punished, with the damage to their reputation caused by the drawn out saga being significant, and has the potential to affect the team and their sponsors for years to come.

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Guenther Steiner, however, believes that the FIA should rethink their punishment, claiming that $7m is not that big of a hit to Red Bull, and that the cut in wind tunnel testing time just allows them to focus their attention elsewhere and master a different aspect of their car.

“There are still opportunities to develop somewhere else, development hasn’t stopped,” he claimed.

“It was just moved to a different area for the vehicle: you can work on the weight, you can do so much with the money. Seven million dollars is a lot of money. But it doesn’t hurt them.”

Steiner has instead suggested that Red Bull should have their budget for next year reduced, meaning that they can spend less money in 2023 than the rest of the teams on the grid, hindering them more significantly than the current punishment.

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“If you had said, for example: Next year you will have five million dollars less available than all other teams in the budget cap – I’ll name a number now, I don’t want to stick to it.”

If Red Bull’s budget for next year was made smaller then it would limit the work that they can complete on their car, however with the current docking of testing time, the team can focus their efforts elsewhere, spending their budget on whatever they like other than wind tunnel testing.

While the Milton Keynes based team are having to rethink how they approach next year’s development, Mercedes and Ferrari are already underway in creating their 2023 challenger, hoping to take advantage of a handicapped Red Bull.