The Red Bull team was sentenced on Friday to pay a fine of 7 million euros for have exceeded the budget allocated to each F1 team over the 2021 season. An overrun estimated by the FIA at €2.15 million out of an authorized total of $145 million, which today with the dollar/euro parity is equivalent to the same sum, but was close to €155 million in start of the season. An offense deemed minor because less than 5%. At the same time, the Austrian team will be subject to a 10% limitation on the use of its wind tunnel next season as part of the development of its 2023 single-seater.
A sanction negotiated between the FIA and Red Bull. An astonishing way to proceed, the referee proposing a sanction to the presumed culprit. It is up to him to accept it and therefore to admit his fault, rather than being forced to go before an independent court.
Red Bull’s interest in the proposed sanction was clearly to accept the agreement. The financial sanction, certainly high, will in no way burden the finances of the Austrian team and even less of its title shareholder. One can also ask the question of the dissuasive force of a fine since the one who exceeds the authorized budget can very well do it knowingly if the too much money is punished with a little more money to go out.
Expected reaction from Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren
This is essentially what Toto Wolff, the boss of the Mercedes team, has constantly pleaded, arguing that the advantage obtained by Red Bull was above all sporting and could amount to three tenths of a second. around. And this, on a Championship which last year was played at the last GP (Abu Dhabi) between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The amicable agreement reached between the FIA and Red Bull will obviously infuriate Toto Wolff and probably many top team bosses, starting with Ferrari and McLaren, very offensive on the file.
On the other hand, on the sporting level, if a limitation of the use of the wind tunnel was expected, many observers had in all coherence predicted a much more drastic limitation than the 10% negotiated. Admittedly, this will handicap Red Bull in the development of its 2023 single-seater, but the 10% will not reduce to nothing, far from it, their ability to present themselves as favorites for the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championship next year.
These moderate sanctions illustrate the sporting and political power of the Red Bull brand in F1. With, it should not be forgotten, two committed teams (Red Bull and Alpha Tauri). That is 20% of the board.