McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has written to the FIA stating the overspend breach by Red Bull is a form of cheating and recommended the punishments he believes would be sufficient.
Last week Red Bull was named by the FIA as having committed a “minor overspend breach” and therefore not been award a certificate of compliance with the 2021 Financial Regulations, while Aston Martin was found to be in procedural breach. While awaiting next steps, Brown – who told RACER recently that he has been impressed by the governing body’s handling of the new rules – has written a letter published by the BBC that criticizes those accused of breaching the regulations.
“The overspend breach, and possibly the procedural breaches, constitute cheating by offering a significant advantage across technical, sporting and financial regulations,” Brown wrote.
“The FIA has run an extremely thorough, collaborative and open process. We have even been given a one-year dress rehearsal [in 2020], with ample opportunity to seek any clarification if details were unclear. So, there is no reason for any team to now say they are surprised.
“The bottom line is any team who has overspent has gained an unfair advantage both in the current and following year’s car development.
“We don’t feel a financial penalty alone would be a suitable penalty for an overspend breach or a serious procedural breach. There clearly needs to be a sporting penalty in these instances, as determined by the FIA.
“We suggest that the overspend should be penalized by way of a reduction to the team’s cost cap in the year following the ruling, and the penalty should be equal to the overspend plus a further fine – ie an overspend of $2m in 2021, which is identified in 2022, would result in a $4m deduction in 2023 ($2m to offset the overspend plus $2m fine).
“For context, $2m is 25-50% upgrade to annual car-development budget and hence would have a significant positive and long-lasting benefit.
“In addition, we believe there should be minor overspend sporting penalties of a 20% reduction in CFD and wind tunnel time. These should be enforced in the following year, to mitigate against the unfair advantage the team has and will continue to benefit from.”
So far, the FIA has yet to outline the next steps it will take and any punishments, while Red Bull disputes that it overspent, responding to the findings with “surprise and disappointment” when they were published.