FIA fires warning [to Red Bull] over budget cap suspicions

budget cap f1 mercedes wolff horner red bull breach FIA Budget cap

Red Bull dismissed as speculation reports that emerged suggesting they spent more than allowed during their 2021 Formula 1 campaign as the sport’s governing body – the FIA – warned it would deal with any budget cap breaches according to the rules.

According to media reports, Red Bull and Aston Martin exceeded the mandatory $145 million budget cap imposed on each of the 10 teams for 2021.  Red Bull spokesperson described the reports at the Singapore Grand Prix as “purely speculation”.

An Aston Martin spokesperson said the team were “in discussion with the FIA, and we are awaiting certification (of the data).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the 2021 F1 world championship after going into the last race level on points with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

There was no official confirmation of any breach, or who might be involved, with the FIA saying in a statement it was still assessing the financial data submitted by teams.

“Alleged breaches of the financial regulations, if any, will be dealt with according to the formal process set out in the regulations,” it added.

Williams were fined $25,000 this year for a procedural breach of the financial regulations after missing a deadline to submit their accounts.

Horner: There’s an awful lot of rumours and gossip about Red Bull

horner f1 budget cap breach red bull

Red Bull team principal Horner told Sky Sports television at the Singapore Grand Prix that none of the 10 teams had so far received a compliance certificate but hinted he knew who was stirring the pot: “There’s an awful lot of rumours and gossip and we know where most of that permeates from. There’s a lot of conjecture about Red Bull but that could well be about four or five teams in the pitlane.”

There was no official confirmation of any breach, with the governing FIA saying in a statement it was still assessing the financial data submitted by teams and would deal with any breaches according to the rules.

Horner said FIA certificates were due to be issued next Wednesday, pointing out that the date had been changed three times already: “They are following their process. Let them do their process and then let’s see what comes out. Anything before that is just speculation.

“It’s the first year of these regulations, accounts were submitted in March. There’s been clarifications since March on certain aspects of what and how things can be submitted and these regulations are still very, very immature.

“They (the FIA) are taking their time to do the job properly and we’re very confident in the submission that we’ve made. So I wouldn’t listen to too many idle bits of gossip and rumour. We are certainly not aware of any breaches. The accounts were all submitted to the FIA way back in March, so it’s been a long process with the FIA and we are in that process as we speak.

“Next week is when they declare their certificates. Our submission was below the cap and it is down to the FIA to follow their process which they are currently doing. We are confident in our submission. There are always going to be rumours. I’ve heard of major breaches but I’m certainly not aware of that,” insisted The Red Bull boss.

Wolff: It is of huge importance for a demonstration that these regulations are policed

toto wolff FIA

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff urged the FIA and its president Mohammed ben Sulayem – elected in the days after the Abu Dhabi fiasco – to follow the rules.

“It is of huge importance for a demonstration that these regulations are policed and I have no reason to believe otherwise,” Wolff told the BBC. “The FIA, particularly Mohammed, has shown a pretty robust stance on enforcing all kinds of regulations. same integrity and leadership that he has done before.”

If Red Bull exceeded last year’s salary cap, that would have also had a potential impact on the make-up of Verstappen’s current car which has carried him to victory at 11 of the 16 races staged in 2022.

F1 introduced a $145 million budget cap last year, narrowing to $140 million this year and $135 million next season, aiming to rein in runaway spending by the biggest teams, level the playing field and put the sport on a more stable financial footing.

The rules provide a range of sanctions that can be applied based on the amount by which teams have exceeded the cap. These include fines for minor offences, rising to a deduction of points from the drivers’ and teams’ standings, suspension and exclusion from the championship.

The aim of the budget cap is to rein in runaway spending by the biggest teams – Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – level the playing field and put the sport on a more stable financial footing. The rules provide a range of sanctions that can be applied based on the amount by which teams have exceeded the cap.

These include fines for minor offences, rising to a deduction of points from the drivers’ and teams’ standings, suspension and exclusion from the F1 championship.

Red Bull and Verstappen are on the cusp of claiming both F1 titles this year, mathematically they could even seal both deals this weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix; both team and driver are runaway leaders in the respective championships. (Reporting by Abhishek Takle & Alan Baldwin)