The Singapore Grand Prix earlier this year came with a lot of controversy, as it was rumoured that Aston Martin and Red Bull had spent over the permitted $145m budget cap in 2021.
While Aston Martin were only found guilty of a procedural breach, Red Bull were found to be in ‘minor’ breach of the 2021 cap, leaving the team to negotiate with the FIA over their potential punishment.
When the FIA announced their findings they refused to accuse the energy drink giants or any malicious intent to attempt to deceive, suggesting that it was multiple minor overspends that caused the breach.
This did not stop McLaren CEO Zak Brown from penning a letter to Formula 1’s governing body, branding Red Bull as cheats and demanding that they receive a severe punishment.
With the ‘cashgate’ saga now being concluded and the team having received their punishment, Brown appears to have changed his mind on the matter, suggesting that the FIA dealt with the breach in an appropriate manner despite his previous outburst.
“I think what happened this year was not intended,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate anyone breached the cap but there were people such as investors and others that invested in the sport on the basis of a cost cap and one of the concerns is ‘would it ever be manageable? Would anyone actually respect it?’ etc, etc.
“So I think when we had those couple of infringements, I think it was important that it was dealt with in an appropriate and a big way to make sure that no on exceeds the cap of doesn’t take it seriously. I think everybody, including those that had their issues, definitely take it seriously. I think that was also a win.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has labelled the FIA’s punishment for his team as ‘draconian’ and has suggested that it could cost his team up to half a second in lap time in 2023.
This will come as music to the ears of Mercedes and Ferrari, who will be looking to topple the energy drink giants next season after enduring slow starts to the new era of Formula 1.
McLaren might not have their eyes set on beating Red Bull just yet, but with a new wind tunnel facility set to be operational in 2023, it might not be long until the team are able to lock horns with the giants of F1 once again.