McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says any future punishments against teams that breach Formula 1’s cost cap need to be much stronger, following the announcement of Red Bull’s fine and car development penalty.
Red Bull has been handed a $7 million fine — itself excluded from the cost cap — and deducted 10% of its aerodynamic development time for the next 12 months for being in breach of the 2021 cap.
The FIA found Red Bull to be 1.6% over the cap but acknowledged there was a tax credit that the team could have applied that would have reduced the overspend to 0.37%. However, Brown — who said any overspend would constitute cheating in a recent letter to the FIA — is not happy with the severity of the punishment.
“We appreciate the cost cap investigation is a complex process which the FIA have conducted in a thorough and transparent manner,” Brown said. “I’m pleased the truth is out there now and it is the result is as we expected — there was a breach of the cost cap by one team, with the other nine operating in line with the rules. It is therefore only right that punitive action is taken. If the FIA is to be most effective and its punishments serve as a lesson to others when rules are broken in this way, the sanctions have to be much stronger in the future.
“We hope that the lessons learned through this process will now mean all teams have a clear understanding of the rules in order to avoid any future breaches. While we are pleased to see them act, we would hope the FIA take stronger action in future against those that willfully break the rules.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says rival teams will never be happy with the penalty, adding: “Some of them have been quick to talk in the media.
“I’m sure for them it won’t be enough — I’m sure if you burned our wind tunnel down it wouldn’t be enough. But this is a penalty that the FIA — after an awful lot of dialogue with them — they know the impact that it has on us. They see how the teams operate, they see the efficiency of their runs; this has a material impact on our car performance for next year.
“I think that the punishment that the FIA has come up with actually is a strong deterrent. For a 0.37% overspend, to be charged $7 million and to lose 10% of your wind tunnel time is massive. It is a strong deterrent for the future, so anybody that diminishes that penalty doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”