F1 Cost Cap debacle Red bull in the firing line
A Storm is Brewing Over The F1 Cost Cap Breach, What Will The FIA Do?
Formula One

Word on the street is that a high-profile team has breached the F1 cost cap, an initiative introduced in 2021 and agreed upon by all teams up and down the F1 paddock. In the last week, rumors have hit a fever pitch and although no names have been mentioned, Red Bull and Aston Martin are in the line of fire. The current F1 cost cap is set at $145 annually, Aston Martin is rumored to have overspent by a few hundred thousand, Red Bull by significantly more, possibly multiples of millions. In the run-up to the Japanese Grand Prix Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss, said it was an open secret that two teams had breached the cost cap.

Wolff mentioned no names other than suggesting Christian Horner should “talk to his CFO”, Chief Finance Officer. It was an indirect barb at Red Bull. Then Scuderia Ferrari boss Laurent Mekies waded into the debate warning the FIA that if the cost cap was indeed breached by another team then it was “game over” for the initiative. Speaking to GPFans Mekies said:

“It is a very vital test for the cost cap. If we don’t pass that test then it is probably game over because the implications are huge… I know it [potential penalties] are what the people in the grandstands want [to hear]. I respect that.”

“But we are much earlier in the process than that and probably an even more key aspect of it – is there a breach? What is crucial is that the FIA fully enforce the rules as they are written now and then after, the penalties are a different matter.” Red Bull team principle Christian Horner quickly jumped to the defense of his team saying he wasn’t aware of any breach of budget regulations and that Red Bull submitted accounts back in March.  Horner also threatened to sue anyone who would so defame the Red Bull F1 brand with false accusations. Then Red Bull lynchpin Mad Dog Helmut Marko accused the FIA of leaking information and naming names. The FIA immediately refuted the Mad Dog’s allegations.  Indeed, the FIA were supposed to release full disclosure of the budget cap report this weekend but delayed it to the following Monday. If any team is in breach of the regulations then the FIA can impose heavy sanctions from deducting points to heavy testing restrictions for the following season.  In 2019 former team boss turned FIA delegate made it clear that a breach of the cost cap will have severe implications for any team depending on the severity of the breach. So if Red Bull and Aston Martin are revealed to be in breach of the cost cap the severity of their penalties will depend on the severity of the breach.  The issue is the FIA has not revealed what a severe breach of the cost cap actually means, is severe going $100,000 over budget? This is a test for the FIA, but the real question is, is Red Bull too big to be punished? Many team F1 principles want severe sanctions to be enforced, for example, it could mean the offending team losing points from the 2021 and 2022 seasons in addition to being sanctioned for 2023. Will the FIA follow through on its zero-tolerance approach to any cost cap breach?
F1 Cost Cap debacle Red bull in the firing line
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