Aston Martin and Red Bull in breach of FIA cost cap limit

Aston Martin and Red Bull in breach of FIA cost cap limit

October 11, 2022

Formula One’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), has revealed that, following a detailed investigation regarding the cost cap breach during the 2021 season, Aston Martin committed a procedural breach, while Red Bull also breached the cost cap limit and overshot the budget.

The FIA had conducted a review of each team’s accounts from the 2021 season, and Red Bull and Aston Martin have been found in breach of the rules. Seven other teams (Mercedes, Ferrari, AlphaTauri, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Alpine) have received compliance certificates, while the Williams one is pending due to a previously acknowledged breach. 

All ten teams were given a budget of US$145 million by the FIA from the 2021 season while also being given additional allowances for sprint races and Grand Prix weekends.

The minor breaches, which Red Bull committed, are an overspend of less than 5%, but the FIA did not reveal the exact amount with regards to the breach. Reports suggest the Austrian team’s breach was less than US$2.2 million. Aston Martin, on the other hand, who committed a “procedural breach”, were under the budget cap. Williams were another team who had committed a procedural breach earlier this year and had entered an Accepted Breach Agreement (ABA) with the FIA with regards to being late in their submission of documents and paid a fine of US$25,000.

Nine teams, including Aston Martin, were all under the cost cap budget, and it was only Red Bull who overshot the level. As per the rules and regulations, procedural or minor breaches can be handed either minor sporting penalties or a financial penalty. 

The FIA has not announced what the exact penalties will be for both the teams and that it is still “currently determining” what the next course of action should be. Potential penalties for the minor breach by Red Bull include deduction of points, which could affect the 2021 Formula One championship, disqualification from the Formula One World Championship 2021, hefty fines or decreased time in the aero-tunnels in the pre-season. 

The statement released by the FIA on the matter read:

The FIA confirms that its Cost Cap Administration has now completed the review of the Reporting Documentation submitted by each Competitor that participated in the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship in respect of the 2021 Reporting Period ending on 31 December 2021.

The review of the Reporting Documentation submitted has been an intensive and thorough process, and all Competitors gave their full support in providing the required information to assess their financial situation during this first year of the Financial Regulations. The FIA Cost Cap Administration notes that all Competitors acted at all times in a spirit of good faith and cooperation throughout the process. 

The FIA would also note that with respect to this first year of the application of the Financial Regulations the intervention of the FIA Cost Cap Administration has been limited to reviewing the submissions made by the Competitors and that no full formal investigations were launched. 

The FIA Cost Cap Administration is currently determining the appropriate course of action to be taken under the Financial Regulations with respect to Aston Martin and Red Bull and further information will be communicated in compliance with the Regulations.

The issue was brought to notice during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had stated that it was “an open secret” that two teams had breached the 2021 rules. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, meanwhile, had stated that they were certain that they were within the budget cap set by the FIA.

Red Bull Racing responded to the findings, stating:

We note the findings with surprise and disappointment. Our 2021 submission was below the cost cap limit so we need to carefully review the FIA’s findings as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost cap amount.

Despite the conjecture and positioning of others, there is of course a process under the regulations with the FIA which we will respectfully follow while we consider all the options available to us.

Red Bull’s title rivals Ferrari and Mercedes were both vocal about the issue and have stated before that spending more than the allocated budget could have made a massive difference in last year’s extremely close title fight. Both teams also suggested that the development of the car, via the extra money used, could have had a knock-on development effect into the following years. 

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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