SINGAPORE — The FIA has confirmed that any violation of Formula 1’s financial regulations will be “reviewed” amid reports that Red Bull and Aston Martin may have exceeded their 2021 budget limit.
F1 introduced a budget cap last year in hopes of leveling the playing field between teams and making the sport more sustainable. It was set at $145 million in 2021 and lowered to $140 million this year, though there have been some adjustments for additional races and inflation.
The F1 governing body is expected to announce its analysis of the team’s 2021 financial data next week, which will show if there were any violations of marginal spending last year. Friday’s Auto Motor und Sport report said Red Bull and Aston Martin may have run over the limit, which could lead to extreme penalties such as elimination from the championship if the overrun is significantly more than five percent.
When Sportzshala contacted Red Bull, it said the media reports were “pure speculation at this stage” while Aston Martin confirmed it had submitted its 2021 report, is in discussion with the FIA and “pending certification”.
The reports in question are from the 2021 season, which if Red Bull is found to have fouled the rules, will reopen the debate over Max Verstappen’s title win, which has already been surrounded by controversy due to how FIA race director Michael Masi handled the car’s latest restart. lap safety in the final race.
However, this will also affect this year’s title fight, as much of this year’s car’s development came from last year’s budget. Verstappen is on the verge of winning the title and could win it as early as this weekend, though Japan is the more likely place to win it.
Since the spending cap was only introduced in 2021, there are no precedents for possible violations of financial rules.
However, the FIA rule book offers a long list of possible penalties – from penalties to exclusion from the championship – which are divided into three categories: “financial penalties”, “minor sporting penalties” and “significant sporting penalties”.
A minor sports or financial penalty will be assessed for an overspending of less than five percent, and a material sports penalty is possible for anything over five percent.
Minor punishments include a public reprimand, points deductions (for both constructors and drivers), suspension from championship events, limitation of wind testing opportunities, and lowering of the next year’s cost cap. Physical sports penalties include all of the above plus expulsion and suspension from championships.
In a statement on Friday, a spokesman for the governing body said: “The FIA is currently finalizing the assessment of the 2021 financial data submitted by all Formula 1 teams. Alleged breaches of financial regulations, if any, will be dealt with in accordance with the formal process set out in the rules.”
Speculation about cost overruns followed a string of scathing comments from competitors about Red Bull’s pace of development this year.
In August, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said: “Financial rules can have differences between teams in how they interpret them and somehow enforce them. And we know that we need a very strong FIA to make sure they are properly focused, otherwise the rules will not be fair and impartial.”
Earlier this year, Williams was fined $25,000 for violating the team’s 2021 filing deadline, although that was relatively little discretion that was quickly resolved along with payment of the fine by Williams.