McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has sensationally written a letter to the FIA insisting that Red Bull have “constitutionally cheated”, after being found guilty of having exceeded the 2021 budget cap.
It was announced the day after Max Verstappen claimed his second World Championship that the Austrians had, as reported, exceeded the 2021 budget cap of £114 million.
According to reports, Red Bull have exceeded the cap by up to £1.8 million, which the governing body has labelled as a ‘minor’ breach.
Anger has reigned throughout the paddock following the shocking revelation, which is arguably one of the biggest scandals in the history of Formula 1.
Drivers and teams alike have demanded that the FIA award a heavy punishment, with the current Constructors’ leaders having technically cheated last season.
The budget cap was introduced last season following a dress rehearsal in 2020, with the cap being the team’s budget to spend on the car (excluding the power unit), areas such as catering, and employee wages (excluding the top three highest earners).
Red Bull have supposedly overspent on catering rather than on developments, but regardless of this, the team has overspent on a cap introduced to make for a more financially fair playing field.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto have both been incredibly vocal over the scandal, but Brown has gone a step further by sending the FIA a letter.
The letter doesn’t mention Red Bull by name; however, it’s evident who the letter is regarding.
“The overspend breach, and possibly the procedural breaches, constitute cheating by offering a significant advantage across technical, sporting and financial regulations,” read Brown’s letter, quoted by BBC Sport.
“The FIA has run an extremely thorough, collaborative and open process. We have even been given a one-year dress rehearsal (in 2020), with ample opportunity to seek any clarification if details were unclear. So, there is no reason for any team to now say they are surprised.
“The bottom line is any team who has overspent has gained an unfair advantage both in the current and following year’s car development.
“We don’t feel a financial penalty alone would be a suitable penalty for an overspend breach or a serious procedural breach. There clearly needs to be a sporting penalty in these instances, as determined by the FIA.
“We suggest that the overspend should be penalised by way of a reduction to the team’s cost cap in the year following the ruling, and the penalty should be equal to the overspend plus a further fine – ie an overspend of $2m in 2021, which is identified in 2022, would result in a $4m deduction in 2023 ($2m to offset the overspend plus $2m fine).
“For context, $2m is (a) 25-50% upgrade to (an) annual car-development budget and hence would have a significant positive and long-lasting benefit.
“In addition, we believe there should be minor overspend sporting penalties of a 20% reduction in CFD and wind tunnel time. These should be enforced in the following year, to mitigate against the unfair advantage the team has and will continue to benefit from.”