The row over Red Bull’s 2021 budget cap and spending seems to be just getting started. According to the FIA’s conclusion from the inspection of the financial documents submitted by the teams at the beginning of 2022, the Milton Keynes team is the only one to have breached the spending limit. Red Bull are convinced that they did not allow such a thing. The team is yet to consider the FIA’s findings and will hold talks with the federation about the feathers on which there are differences.
The FIA statement said that Red Bull breach ‘minor overspend’. This means an excess of up to 5% of the entire value of the limit, that is, it can reach a value of more than 7 million dollars. According to information from Auto Motor und Sport, the documents of the team from Milton Keynes indicated that the team was several million dollars below the limit.
The question then is how the FIA established overspending. The answer: the FIA interpreted certain feathers differently. We are talking, for example, about money for sick leave, which was allegedly not included in the budget documents. However, according to the FIA, they should be there. There is also talk of catering – a free lunch for nearly 1,000 staff in Milton Keynes
The issue with Adrian Newey is also curious. Some time ago, the legendary constructor had a desire to move away from Formula 1, but in the end he stayed with Red Bull. His current title is “Chief Technical Officer”. According to some reports, the Milton Keynes team is working with Newey through a consultancy contract, which remains out of budget. According to the team itself, quoted in the publication of Auto Motor und Sport, the constructor is included in the salaries with a regular contract, but his remuneration is not included in the limit. The reason is that the 63-year-old engineer was among the three people from the management team of the team with the highest income, and these three people are outside the limit.
Whatever the real points of contention regarding the budget for the 2021 season between Red Bull and the FIA, it once again enters a vicious circle. Since the team does not agree with the conclusions of the financial audit, the case will be considered by a commission of 6 to 12 judges, who are appointed by the FIA general meeting
That is, the team can dispute the results of the inspection before the… federation. Besides, a violation is a violation, whether it’s sick pay and free lunch or car upgrades. That is why most of the other teams – far from only Ferrari and Mercedes – want very strict penalties in case of proven wrongdoing.
According to the German publication, the choice of words in the official announcement by the FIA hinted that there would be no heavy penalties. Even deducting points will hardly affect the standings this season. Max Verstappen’s lead in the drivers’ standings is 113 points ahead of Sergio Perez and 114 ahead of Charles Leclerc. For the constructors, the difference is even greater – 165 points between Red Bull and Ferrari. Rumor has it that a possible penalty is a fine – double the amount by which the budget was exceeded. An option is also a reduction of the limit for the team for the next season, also with double funds. That is, if the violation is $2 million, then the fine or budget reduction would be $4 million. It is possible to add to this a reduction in working time in the wind tunnel.
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