After an extensive investigation last season, the FIA found that Red Bull had breached the cost cap during the 2021 season, which saw Max Verstappen claim his first Drivers’ Championship in a controversial finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
According to the FIA, Red Bull committed a “minor overspend breach,” which could be anywhere between $1mn-$7.25mn, with Red Bull’s Christian Horner claiming it didn’t give them a performance advantage, as it was spent on sick pay and catering.
Ultimately, the FIA confirmed that Red Bull had spent $2.2 million over budget, hitting the team with a $7 million fine and a 10% reduction in their wind tunnel time in 2023.
The penalty translates into 63% wind tunnel time for Red Bull in 2023, while Ferrari gets 75% and Mercedes gets 80%.
On the other end of the spectrum, Williams and Alpha Tauri, who finished at the bottom of last season’s Constructors’ Championship get 115% and 110% respectively.
Formula One fans took to social media to joke about Red Bull’s solution to its penalty after a Red Bull car was spotted on the back of a truck ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
“Newey could still find 3 tenths that way,” one social media user said, while another added “Newey on the moped behind. Analysing the airflow.”
“Ironically the truck carrying the car has more downforce than the McLaren,” a fan commented, poking fun at McLaren’s tough start to the season, which has left them on 0 points after two races.
While Red Bull fears the penalty could hit the team’s development later in the season, Horner claims that it “focuses everybody’s minds and it drives efficiency.”
“What we lost in wind tunnel time we gained in motivation,” Horner told Autosport.
“It was vital for us to be able to cope with that penalty and to have a solid starting point. That is what the team has done a great job in achieving.”
Red Bull has started 2023 with back-to-back one-two finishes, as its drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez traded victories.