Red Bull disagree with wind tunnel penalty for breaching budget cap

Red Bull's 'Cashgate' scandal has resulted in virtually the entire paddock turning their backs on the "cheating" Austrians.

The United States Grand Prix is quickly turning into a deeply saddening and troublesome weekend for Red Bull, following the death of co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz and the progression of the ‘Cashgate’ scandal.

The big and equally saddening news that has rocked the Formula 1 paddock at the Circuit of the Americas is that the co-founder of Red Bull sadly died at the age of 78, something which was announced by the team prior to qualifying.

Mateschitz has played a pivotal role in not only the Red Bull side seen in the championship today, but also the Red Bull-owned and sponsored teams and drivers competing around the world in various series.

His death comes at an unfortunate time for the Austrians, who are unravelled in the ‘Cashgate’ scandal, after it was announced that Red Bull had exceeded the 2021 budget cap.

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The scandal has understandably dominated headlines, with team principal Christian Horner having hit back at McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown during the team principals press conference at the Circuit of the Americas.

Brown wrote to the FIA essentially saying that Red Bull ‘cheated’; however, he didn’t mention the team by name.

The saga is arguably going on much longer than it ever needed to, with the punishment that’ll be awarded to the side yet to be publicly announced.

Some have speculated what the side’s punishment could be for their ‘minor’ breach of the £114 million cap, but a recent report by Auto Motor und Sport states that the Austrians “know” their penalty.

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According to Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt, the “racing team has known for a week what punishment it faces” and it is “allegedly a deduction of 25 percent of the wind tunnel time for the coming season plus a fine.

“Red Bull is said to disagree with the cost cap administrator’s proposal. The process continues,” added Schmidt.

Both Red Bull and the FIA have been keeping all information close to their chests, with very little transparency taking place, despite it being the number one request from the paddock.

It isn’t a shock that Red Bull are fighting their “known” penalty, with the Constructors’ leaders already set to receive less wind tunnel time due to a new sliding scale system introduced last year.

This system effectively sees the teams allocated a certain amount of windtunnel time based on their position in the standings, with Williams, for example, set for more than Red Bull due to being last.

Horner was actually captured having a deep discussion with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on Friday, with Schmidt understanding that the Red Bull boss “supposedly made a counter-suggestion as to what punishment they could live with”.

Unfortunately for Horner, it’s not Ben Sulayem that he needs to be pleading to, as an independent panel are carrying out the investigation into the soon-to-be 2022 Constructors’ Champions.

The FIA did reportedly offer Red Bull an “accepted breach agreement” ahead of the weekend, which if accepted by the Austrians will see the scandal close very quickly.

As it stands, though, then it could go on for potentially “another six months” if Red Bull takes the case to court.

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“From the FIA’s point of view, it is up to Red Bull how quickly the process ends,” said Schmidt.

“If an agreement is reached with the cost cap administrator, the file can be closed immediately.

“If it goes to court, the matter can drag on for another six months.”