As the story surrounding whether two F1 teams potentially violated the budget cap, rumours in the paddock suggest Red Bull may have gone over by as much as $10 million.
Reports suggest the FIA are set to confirm that both Red Bull and Aston Martin exceeded the $145 million spending limit put in place for the first time in 2021.
The FIA told teams earlier this week that it would be issuing certificates of compliance with the 2021 financial regulations on October 5.
While Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has dismissed the reports as “purely speculation”, Italian journalist Umberto Zapelloni writes that word in the paddock suggests the team may have exceeded the limit by as much as $10m.
Cost-cap regulations state that an overspend of less than five percent is a “minor” breach, while anything more than that would be a “material” one.
A five percent overspend in 2021 would equate to $7.25m, which is roughly what teams spend to develop their car over the course of a season.
Sanctions for a minor breach can include a deduction of points for the season in which the irregularity occurred, a suspension from a limited number of events, limitations on research and development, or a a reduction of the cost cap for the team in question.
As for a material breach, the team and driver can be banned from the entire championship.
Doubts over 2021 World Championship reopened
Questions over Red Bull‘s spending would raise further questions over the credibility of the 2021 season, which saw Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the title in controversial fashion after race director Michael Masi failed to correctly implement the Safety Car rules in Abu Dhabi.
The budget teams spend during a season also includes development on next season’s car, which means any potential breaches by Red Bull would have impacted their performance in 2022.
Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies says the team want to see the FIA deal with the matter in exemplary fashion.
“It’s now no secret that two teams broke the 2021 budget cap regulations, one by a significant amount, the other less so,” Mekies said.
“This is something very serious, for which we expect the FIA to take a clear and exemplary stance. We trust the FIA, they have taken a strong stance in recent weeks.
“Given the severity of the issue, we expect the utmost transparency and strictness in order to ensure that everyone is racing under the same conditions. These differences in spending are gigantic.”
Mekies wary of budget cap risks
Mekies added that there’s always the risk of fans being alienated by the budget cap regulation, as it throws past results into doubt.
However, he believes sanctions must be handed out to any guilty parties in order to ensure everyone is racing under the same rules.
“First and foremost, it is important that the FIA ascertain there has been a breach,” said Mekies.
“Once that is established, it must be made clear that these are the rules that everyone must abide by.
“Then come the sanctions that deal with what this means for 2021, 2022 and 2023, but the most important thing is to establish the breach and what are the rules by which you compete.
“Is this bad for the fans? It is one of the limitations of this regulation, we knew that. It is something we have to live with.
“We understand that it isn’t nice for the fans to look back on a result achieved in the past, but what’s more important is that a penalty has real value, if not for the past, then certainly for the future.”