Former chief executive of the Formula 1 group, Bernie Ecclestone, has made the extraordinary claim that Red Bull will suffer harsh consequences, following their breach of the 2021 budget cap.
In a conversation with Blick newspaper, Ecclestone was asked if Red Bull could potentially be deducted points from last season.
“It will be worse than that,” he claimed.
A small deduction of constructors’ points in 2022 would not be too detrimental to the Milton Keynes based side, who found themselves over 200 points clear of Ferrari in the final standings.
On the other hand any sort of a deduction from last year’s drivers’ championship points, would surely see the drama of Abu Dhabi undone, with Max Verstappen being stripped of his title, and Lewis Hamilton claiming his record breaking eighth.
Despite Ecclestone’s claims, it is much believed that Red Bull will get away with just a fine, with the breach being found as ‘minor’.
Not everyone in the paddock is happy with this punishment for going minorly over the $145m cap, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff seeing this as exploitable.
“If Red Bull exceeded the budget by 2 million, and the financial penalty is five times that amount, then the sanctions the right to violate the cap,” he said.
The Mercedes team boss then went on to say that if this is how the punishment pans out, then the German team wouldn’t hesitate to make a similar breach, in order to return to the top.
“We have already talked about this, and if the punishment really turns out to be like this, then Mercedes will be ready to exceed the budget and pay the associated penalties in order to return to the top,” he warned.
The benefits gained by exceeding the cap outweigh the cost of the rumoured fines, with the extra spend being the difference between two teams.
“We always monitor closely which parts are brought to the track by the top teams in each race, and for at least two seasons, we can see that there are two top teams that are the same and another that instead spends more,” claimed Wolff.
“So you can understand spending an extra $500,000 can make a difference,” he continued.
The F1 world waits to see how the FIA will respond to Red Bull’s breach, with this punishment setting a precedent for any future budget-related infringements.