Red Bull fined $7m for cost cap breach

Red Bull have been fined $7 million for breaking Formula One's budget rules but will not have points deducted from their 2021 total, the sport's governing body said Friday.

Red Bull will also be penalised with a 10% reduction in permitted aerodynamic research.

The FIA confirmed the team, which carried Max Verstappen to a contentious championship victory over Lewis Hamilton last year, overspent by £1.86 million ($2.15 million) in 2021.

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

Red Bull chief Christian Horner said the penalties were "enormous".

"I hear people say it's not a severe penalty, but 10 percent less wind tunnel time and other aerodynamic tools is a draconian penalty," said Horner.

"That can cost up to half a second a lap. It will have an impact on our ability to perform on track next year."

He said the fine represented "an enormous amount of money" to find in just 30 days, but he insisted again that none of their ill-judged overspend had gone on car development.

Horner added that Red Bull had chosen to take the penalties "on the chin" and "to settle begrudgingly".

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

It follows two weeks of speculation that generated criticism of the management of the procedure and calls for harsher sporting penalties instead of a fine.

It was expected to be resolved at the United States Grand Prix last weekend, but it was postponed following the death of Red Bull patriarch Dietrich Mateschitz during final talks on an 'accepted breach agreement' (ABA).

Many teams felt that the punishment should have set an example, notably as the breach related to the 2021 season when Verstappen clinched his maiden drivers' title with Red Bull in contentious circumstances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, passing seven-time champion Hamilton of Mercedes on the final lap after an irregular Safety Car decision.

Red Bull's acceptance of an ABA signalled that the team had admitted the offence, a move that brought less severe punishment than might have been if the saga had continued.

In a statement, the FIA said: "There is no accusation of evidence that Red Bull has sought at any time to act in bad faith, dishonestly or in a fraudulent manner, nor has it wilfully concealed any information from the Cost Cap Administration."

The fine has to be paid within 30 days and the restriction on wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics development applies for 2023.

The FIA noted that Red Bull had incorrectly excluded 13 items from the costs submitted for the 2021 season in a detailed statement explaining the review of the financial regulations and Red Bull's acceptance of the ABA offered.

The team clinched their fifth constructors' championship and first since 2013 in Texas last weekend where Verstappen registered a record-equalling 13th win of the year.

The fine will be seen as a light punishment to the team, but the wind tunnel penalty will have some effect.

Teams are granted wind tunnel runs on a sliding scale depending on their result in the championship – and Red Bull are set to be trimmed from 28 runs to 25 while rivals Ferrari will next year have 30 runs, if they finish this season as runners-up. If Mercedes are third, they will have 32.

Rival team boss Zak Brown of McLaren said Red Bull's actions had been tantamount to 'cheating', an accusation supported by other team bosses, including those of Ferrari and Mercedes, who may be disappointed at the outcome.

Many expected a wind tunnel reduction of 25 percent.

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