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McLaren chief demands FIA punish Red Bull for budget breach | Formula one


McLaren team boss Zach Brown demanded serious sporting and financial penalties from the FIA ​​against Red Bull for them breaking the Formula 1 budget limit. In a letter to the sport’s governing body, Brown insisted that tough action must be taken against what he described as “cheating”.

Brown wrote to FIA president Mohammed bin Sulaiman and F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali. A letter was also sent to other teams that were not found to have violated the restriction.

Penalties that the FIA ​​can impose on Red Bull include financial penalties or the potential disqualification of driver or team points, which could significantly affect the outcome of the competition. World Cup 2021, narrowly won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, eight points ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Brown was emphatic that there was no excuse for either team to fall short of the budget.

“The overspending violation and possibly the procedural violations constitute cheating, offering a significant advantage over the technical, sporting and financial rules,” he wrote.

“The FIA ​​conducted an extremely thorough, collaborative and open process. We even had a one-year dress rehearsal (in 2020) with ample opportunity to get any clarifications if details were unclear. So there’s no reason for any team to say they’re surprised.”

Last week after Grand Prix of Japan The FIA ​​has announced its assessment of the teams’ spending claims for the 2021 season. It concluded that Red Bull had overspent the $145 million limit with a “procedural” and “minor” breach, the latter of which could be anything up to 5% of the limit, up to $7.25 million.

Red Bull say they believe their submission was fully within bounds, expressing surprise and disappointment at the FIA’s findings. Interpretation of regulations is believed to be key in the issue of overspending. However, the FIA ​​has not released more details about the amount and in which areas Red Bull accused of overspending.

Brown, however, was emphatic that whatever the sum, sporting action must act decisively, although he stopped short of calling for Verstappen to be stripped of the 2021 title. He pointed out that breaking the limit could have long-term benefits in terms of performance, a point also made by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff when the breach was first reported.

“The bottom line is that any team that overspends has been given an unfair advantage both this year and next year in car development,” Brown wrote. “We do not believe that a financial penalty alone would be an appropriate punishment for an overspend or a serious procedural breach. Obviously, in such cases, as determined by the FIA, a sporting penalty must be applied.

“We are proposing that overspending be penalized by reducing the team’s spending cap in the year following the ruling, and that the penalty be equal to the overspend plus an additional penalty—that is, a $2 million overspend in 2021 that is determined in 2022 would result in a deduction of $4 million in 2023 ($2 million for overspending plus a $2 million penalty).

Max Verstappen won the 2021 World Championship at the final race in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Tim Goode/PA

“For context, $2 million is a 25-50% upgrade to the annual vehicle development budget and will therefore have significant positive and long-term benefits.”

The budget cap was introduced as a method of leveling the playing field for the ten Formula 1 teams and bridging the gap between them. This has been enthusiastically embraced by most as a way to improve the sport, but it will only be effective if it is seen to work, with enough penalties and no loopholes.

Brown emphasized in his letter that he believed the FIA’s action on the cap was now of fundamental importance to the future of the sport.

“The introduction of cost containment has been one of the main reasons why we have attracted new shareholders and investors to Formula 1 in recent years, as they see it as a way of encouraging financial and sporting fair play,” he wrote. “It is therefore essential that we are very firm in enforcing the cost cap rules for the integrity and future of F1.”

Red Bull has not commented on Brown’s letter and is awaiting the FIA’s decision on the penalty. They can accept it and move on, or reject it in favor of presenting their case to an independent judicial committee. However, if the latter agree with the FIA’s assessment, they face a harsher punishment.


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