F1: Hefty fine and 10% research reduction for Red Bull

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Red Bull have been hit with a $7m (£6.07m) fine and a 10% reduction in permitted aerodynamic research for breaking Formula 1’s budget cap.

Governing body the FIA said that Red Bull had overspent by £1.86m in 2021.

Their financial punishment is not a reduction in their permitted spend next year, when the budget cap is $135m.

The 10% cut is in the time they can spend using their wind tunnel or computational fluid dynamics to design their car.

“We have been provided a significant financial and sporting penalty – $7m is an enormous amount of money and the more draconian part is the sporting penalty, which is a 10% reduction in our ability to use our wind tunnel and aerodynamic tools,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said.

“That is an enormous amount. That represents between 0.25secs and 0.5secs of lap time. It comes in from now and will be in place for a 12-month period and will have an impact on development of our 2023 car.”

The punishment comes after Red Bull acknowledged they were at fault and entered into a so-called “accepted breach agreement” with the FIA.

“Why have we accepted it? We felt it was in everyone’s interests to close the book. We accept the penalties – begrudgingly, but we accept them,” Horner added.

Horner insisted that the overspend would “absolutely not” tarnish Max Verstappen’s 2021 title.

“Verstappen [was a] hugely deserving champion,” he told BBC Sport’s Laura Scott. “[There will] inevitably [be] partisan support on either side but the reality is he did the job, he won the race at the final GP of the year and 2021 is now confined to the history books.”

Horner admitted that Red Bull had not taken up the opportunity to do a dry run of the cost cap in 2020, which many other teams did.

He said they considered their interim submission in April 2021 as their dry run, and that they had had no feedback from the FIA on that.

The FIA had previously said only that Red Bull had committed a “minor” breach, which is anything up to 5% of the cap, or $7.25m in 2021, when Verstappen won his first title, with no further details.

A statement by the FIA detailing Red Bull’s errors said the team had “inaccurately excluded and/or adjusted costs amounting to a total of £5,607,000” in 2021.

The team’s overspend breach of relevant costs adjusted by the FIA was £1,864,000.

This amounts to an understatement of accounts of nearly 5% and an adjusted overspend of 1.6%.

A total of 13 points of non-compliance included an understatement related to their new power-unit business and fixed costs, and costs relevant to catering, social security, apprenticeships, inventory (unused parts) and non-F1 activities.

The fine has to be paid within the next 30 days. (BBC Sport)

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