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Red Bull guilty of breaking Formula 1's budget cap

By Tom Gibson | October 11, 2022


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Despite insisting otherwise for the last couple of weeks, Red Bull have been found guilty of breaking the cost cap in 2021

Red Bull guilty of breaking Formula 1's budget cap

The final chapter in arguably the most controversial season in F1 history is still yet to be written after Red Bull were found guilty of breaking last year’s cost cap in an announcement yesterday.

Team Principal, Christian Horner, had been insisting his team were compliant for the last couple of weeks but it has now emerged the FIA has declared Red Bull exceeded the $145m (£114m) limit in a ‘minor’ breach – which means by less than 5%, or $7.25m.

Both Red Bull and Aston Martin were also found guilty of a procedural breach of the cap which is as a result of incorrect administration.

The FIA did not reveal the exact amount for which Red Bull overspent, how it had overspent or indeed what penalties would be applied – but there now looks set to be a fierce debate as to the legitimacy of Max Verstappen’s 2021 Driver’s Championship win, over and above what happened in Abu Dhabi.

Red Bull said in a statement that they noted the FIA's findings "with surprise and disappointment".

The team added: "Our 2021 submission was below the cost-cap limit, so we need to carefully review the FIA's findings, as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost-cap amount.

"Despite the conjecture and positioning of others, there is of course a process under the regulations with the FIA which we will respectfully follow while we consider all the options available to us."

Potential penalties for a 'minor' breach include: a reprimand; deduction of drivers' and/or constructors' championship points for the season in question; suspension from one or more stages of a competition; limitations on aerodynamic or other testing; and a reduction of the team's cost cap.

Ferrari and Mercedes have already been very vocal in interviews about how the cost cap needs to be policed strictly, as it is essentially the F1 equivalent of doping. Ferrari’s Team Principal has previously stated a $5m breach would equate to around half a second of lap time.

Ross Brawn, who brought in the regulation has also previously stated that the cost cap “has teeth”, and any team found guilty of breaking it would be losing their championship. It remains to be seen what the punishment will be, however.

Let us know what you think should be done in the comments below.

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