McLaren boss calls for tough punishment for Red Bull’s budget ‘scam’
Red Bull’s budget breach from the 2021 Formula 1 season continues to make waves. Zak Brown calls for drastic penalties in a letter to FIA & teams. Big scandals do not go without consequences in big sports. Use live betting odds and make your predictions
Red Bull dominantly won the 2022 title, but Max Verstappen’s 2021 title is now back in question. The reason for this is the FIA investigation against Red Bull: the racing team exceeded the 2021 budget cap by a so-called ‘minor breach’, i.e. in a range of up to 5% of the total budget. This means Red Bull could have overspent by up to US$7.5 million.
However, the FIA did not disclose the exact extent of the overrun. Nor is it known whether the FIA court (Cost Cap Adjudication Panel) will issue a penalty from the defined catalog, and if so, which one. An out-of-court settlement with an ‘Accepted Breach Agreement’ seems unlikely at the moment, as Red Bull would have to make an admission of guilt to do so.
Brown seeks allies against ‘cheater’ Red Bull
McLaren boss Zak Brown is already lobbying for a stiff penalty against the Austrian rival. An incendiary letter from the American dated Oct. 12, 2022, has been obtained by the BBC, and in it, Red Bull comes off anything but well. “Any team that has overspent has gained an unfair advantage in the development of the car for the current and next year,” he said. The breach of the spending rules, and possibly the procedural breaches, constitute fraud as they provide a significant advantage in terms of technical, sporting, and financial regulations,” Brown writes.
The McLaren managing director addressed FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 boss Stefano Domenicali directly. In addition, the five other teams, which are so far within the budget regulations, also received a copy. These are: Ferrari, Mercedes, Alpine, Alfa Romeo, and Haas. AlphaTauri has also been found wanting, but the team is known to be owned by Red Bull and is therefore unlikely to become a McLaren ally on this issue. Williams and Aston Martin also didn’t overspend but were also investigated due to procedural errors. Williams has already had to pay a $25,000 fine because of this.
Red Bull has so far denied all accusations, citing, among other things, catering expenses and employee bonuses misinterpreted by the FIA as the reason for the investigation findings. Brown waved off the Red Bulls for this: “The FIA conducted an extremely thorough, cooperative, and open process. We were even given a one-year dress rehearsal (2020), with ample opportunity to ask questions if anything was unclear. So there is no reason for any team to be surprised now. The bottom line is that any team that overspent gained an unfair advantage in developing the car for this year and the following year.”