Revealed: How Red Bull exploited a loophole to breach 2021 budget cap

A potential loophole allowed Red Bull to exceed the budget cap, but they could still face punishment from the FIA.

In a month of financial drama, it was decided by the FIA that Red Bull Racing have committed a ‘minor’ breach of the 2021 budget cap.

Teams were permitted to spend a maximum of $145m last year, but with Red Bull being exposed as a team to have made a ‘minor’ breach, they have gone within 5% over this budget.

Until now it has been believed by the majority that the overspend was down to smaller financial factors such as sick pay for staff and hospitality costs, however, another potential reason has surfaced.

Ziggo Sport have sensationally revealed that Red Bull design mastermind Adrian Newey could be the cause of the cap violation.

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“Newey is one of the team’s highest paid employees and there is some debate as to whether he is a Red Bull employee or if the contract is with Adrian’s company,” stated the Dutch broadcasters.

It is believed that by registering Newey as an employee, Red Bull would not have to include his costs when filing their financial reports with regards to the budget cap, however the FIA have caught onto this loophole.

“Red Bull claims that he works directly for the team, so according to the rules he is not included in the spending limit.

“The FIA does not agree with this as he is engaged via his firm, and this means he does not fall under the exceptions to the limit,” explained Ziggo Sport.

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With the punishment still being negotiated between the FIA and Red Bull, this revelation potentially outlines the discussions going on between the two.

If Red Bull can prove that Newey’s costs can legally be exception to the budget cap, they likely will have little to no breach of the cap, however ,if the FIA prove that his costs are included, the Milton Keynes based outfit can expect an appropriate punishment for the breach.

The discussion over punishment has sparked outrage amongst the other F1 teams with McLaren CEO Zak Brown reportedly penning a letter to the FIA, accusing Red Bull of ‘cheating’.

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Meanwhile Mercedes boss Toto Wolff claims that a mere fine would not be enough.

“If you spend $5m too much and that’s apparently a minor infraction, it still has a huge impact of the championship,” he SAID.

Wolff has also claimed that if Red Bull ‘get away’ with a soft punishment, Mercedes will not hesitate to break the cap themselves to get back to the top, taking the fine as collateral damage.