Red Bull Racing accused of violating F1 spending limits

The teams are accused of a minor overspend of up to £5 million...

Sophie McMillan
14th October 2022
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Rumours and accusations have begun circulating that specific teams in last year’s world championship have breached the FIA’s set cost cap of $145 million.

The FIA is nearing the completion of its audit for 2021's team finances, and speculation has arisen over the last week that Red Bull and Aston Martin may have been in breach of the cap, with Toto Wolff describing the ordeal as “an open secret.”  Both teams vehemently deny these allegations, though drama is beginning to bubble up through the paddock, and online - even more so now the release of the certificates of compliance has been delayed till after Suzuka’s race, in which Max Verstappen has the potential to win this year’s championship, with his 104 point lead over Charles Leclerc. 

If you fraudulently breach financial regulations, you will be losing your championship.

ROSS BRAWN

Ross Brawn (Formula One's managing director) is on record saying “if you fraudulently breach financial regulations, you will be losing your championship.” However, over the last few days, sources such as Sky News have been publishing that “No Formula One team is set to face severe punishment” as the breaches were only “minor.”

Ferrari and Mercedes in particular are not happy with the current state of affairs, with Ferrari urging the governing body to be especially strict, firm and open with how the matter is dealt with. A minor breach is defined by regulations as less than 5% of the budget cap, though even a “minor breach” could reportedly result in half a second per lap in performance. Mercedes are especially concerned about the results of this audit as they have had to make staff such as engineers redundant in order to stay under the budget cap for 2021 and 2022.

Should Red Bull be found guilty of a breach of rules, there is a range of options for the FIA to impose as sanctions, including fines, points deductions and exclusion from the championship. With the tarnished reputation and constant debate over rules since the result of Abu Dhabi 2021, the image of Formula One and the authenticity of its championships are very much in question.

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