Red Bull Suggests F1 Budget Cap Needs Rethink After Mercedes Cause €3mn Of Damage

Senior Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko has suggested that certain rules related to Formula 1’s recently introduced budget cap need a rethink.

For the first time in the sport’s history, F1 implemented a budget cap for the 2021 season, with teams only allowed to spend a total of up to $145 million (with the exception of certain expenses, such as driver salaries.)

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As such, car damage can put teams in a difficult position if they are frequently having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on new parts and repairs.

According to Dr Marko, Red Bull suffered €3mn euro of damage in the last two grand prix due to collisions that were caused by Mercedes drivers Sir Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The Austrian said that he believes making the teams of “negligent” drivers foot the cost of such repairs would make sense due to the recently introduced budget cap.

“Until the last two races, the first half of the season was positive,” Dr Marko said.

“Then everything came together in a negative way. As a result, we have to ask ourselves whether the penalty system is justified after two errors by Mercedes. Maybe there should be different standards.

“Antonio Giovinazzi gets a stop/go penalty after speeding in the pit lane and Sebastian Vettel is disqualified for not having enough fuel in his tank, while the 0.3-litres that was in his tank would have been enough for a fuel sample.

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“On the other hand, we have two broken engines due to [crashes caused by] Mercedes drivers and that means that we have to take a hard hit financially.

“We have three million damages and that’s an amount we can’t easily find anymore,” he added.

Continuing, he said: “Such things can be the decisive factor in the title fight.

“That is why we need to look at it differently and whether the drivers who caused it have been negligent and whether something can be arranged.

“For example, that this damage does not count in the budget cap or that we can use some kind of joker.”  

Hamilton currently has an eight-point lead over Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Standings, but the Dutch ace will be looking to retake the Championship lead when Formula 1 returns from its summer break in Belgium in a few days.