Mercedes are reportedly ready to toss the rule book out the window next year if Red Bull are not sufficiently punished for breaching the budget cap.
A “gentlemen’s agreement” was previously trialled in Formula 1, whereby the teams would promise to stay with a spending limit, but no one had any intention of sticking to the loose guidelines.
In 2019, a new set of financial regulations were signed in preparation for the 2021 season, which would impose an official, and much more stringent cap on everyone’s expenditure.
Initially, all 10 teams were told not to spend any more than $175 million for the 2021 season, but the outlook changed after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so it was lowered to $145 million.
There are caveats to breaking the rule, in that if a team overspends by more than five percent – which in this instance is an expenditure of $152.25 million or more – they could be excluded from the championship for a material breach.
On Monday, the FIA confirmed that Red Bull had gone over by less than five percent, putting them in minor breach of the regulations.
This does not entirely let them and Max Verstappen off the hook though, as a points deduction is also plausible.
The general consensus is that the Austrian team will face a fine, which is somewhat ironic given that they, according to the governing body, evidently had an abundance of money to spend in the first place.
As a result, if the punishment for spending money is spending more money, then Toto Wolff, per a report by FormulaPassion, is ready to get petty with the FIA, and disregard the financial regulations.
One of the arguments for a bigger punishment is that breaking the rules one year has a knock-on effect on future seasons, potentially putting Verstappen’s 2022 success under the spotlight as well.
Aston Martin, meanwhile, were found to be in material breach of the rules, and the governing body are currently deciding on a suitable punishment for them too.