With Mercedes having won every championship since 2014 going into the 2021 season, the FIA decided that they would need to intervene to prevent the gap between the bigger teams and the smaller teams becoming too large.
A budget cap of $145m was introduced in 2021 in order to prevent the bigger teams such as Mercedes and Red Bull from simply buying success, as they have access to enough resources to blow the likes of Williams and Haas out of the water.
Many team principals have suggested that the regulations were extremely complex during the first year of the cap, as teams struggled to get their heads around exactly how to keep track and log their spending in the way the FIA required them too.
Upon the introduction of the cap, it has now been revealed that Red Bull had to make the most major changes, reportedly making 154 members of staff redundant just to match the FIA’s requirements.
Motorsport-Total.com have reported that the number of people employed by Red Bull went from 875 to 721 between 2020 and 2021, as the energy drink giants were forced to cut their spending in order to stay under the cap.
This meant that Red Bull employed less people that Mercedes, McLaren and even Williams in 2021, as the team were forced to downsize in an attempt to appease the FIA.
As it turned out, Red Bull’s redundancies were not enough to keep them under the cap during the first year of its application, as the team were found guilty of a minor overspend in 2021 and were punished accordingly.
The FIA refused to accuse the team of trying to deceive or gain an advantage, instead suggesting that the breach was a result of multiple minor overspends that could have been related to mistakes when filing taxes.
Red Bull will have ten percent less testing time than they were original allocated this year as punishment for the breach and have already paid the FIA a $7m fine late last year.
Guenther Steiner has backed the budget cap to do exactly what it was brought into do in the coming years, as he expects every team to hit the cap for the first time next season, levelling the playing field for every team.