Max Verstappen told he can help Red Bull pay $7mn fine

Max Verstappen earns a reported base salary of £40 million a year at Red Bull.

Last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix was a strange weekend for Max Verstappen and Red Bull, as the Dutchman sealed his 14th record-breaking win of the season just a few days after it was announced by the FIA what punishment the Austrians would be awarded.

The governing body, of course, deemed Red Bull guilty of having made a ‘minor’ breach of the 2021 budget cap, with the new Constructors’ Champions having gone $2.2 million over the limit.

Prior to the Mexican GP, where Verstappen eclipsed Michael Schumacher’s and Sebastian Vettel’s joint record for most wins in a season, Red Bull were slapped with a “draconian” $7 million fine and a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research.

Interestingly, Verstappen has always avoided answering questions regarding the shocking ‘Cashgate’ scandal, with ex-Red Bull driver David Coulthard saying that the 25-year-old is simply “numb” to Formula 1 politics.

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Verstappen, of course, is feeling incredibly bad for what his team are having to endure, with it yet to be seen the financial challenge Red Bull will face once they’ve paid the large fine.

Coulthard suggested that the Red Bull star could use some of his own money to support his side during their current crisis, considering that he is on a base salary of £40 million a season.  

“I think Max is just so focused on what he has to do. He’s just numb to the political side,” Coulthard told Channel 4.

“Of course, he feels for his team, they’re taking a financial hit. He’s earning significant money, if he feels really bad he can help fund the team for that. But I think there’s always a background noise in Formula One.

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“It doesn’t matter whether it’s Schumacher era or Hamilton’s and some of his amazing victories, there’s always going to be a little bit of controversy.”

One of the biggest issues regarding the Austrians breach is that it would’ve been considerably lower had they correctly submitted their tax receipts.

The FIA confirmed that the Austrians breach would’ve only been $500,000 had they done so, rather than just over $2 million.

READ: Lando Norris says he didn’t just speak to Red Bull when mulling McLaren exit

Given that it was a financial accounting error made by Red Bull, as recognised by the FIA, team principal Christian Horner was left gobsmacked by the size of the penalty, one he predicts could see his drivers lose “half a second” per lap in 2023.

“And that, I’ve heard people reporting today [that it] is an insignificant amount – let me tell you now, that is an enormous amount,” said the Red Bull boss.

“That represents anywhere between a quarter and half a second worth of lap time.”