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F1 Red Bull Cost Cap Violations: Everything You Need to Know

The 2022 Constructors’ Champions were handed multiple penalties, including a $7 million fine, for exceeding Formula 1’s team budget cap last year. Let’s get into the details.

Last weekend in Austin, Texas, Red Bull Racing made it a two-fer. All-world phenom Max Verstappen had already clinched his second straight Formula 1 world championship, but in winning the United States Grand Prix outright, he propelled his team to the 2022 Constructors’ Championship, too. It would take a hell of a lot to kill the buzz around RBR headquarters, to be sure — but team principal Christian Horner and Co. perhaps won’t be clinking champagne flutes Friday.

The FIA, global motorsport’s governing body, formally penalized Red Bull Racing for exceeding Formula 1’s team budget cap of £118.036 million (about $145 million) during the 2021 season by £432,652 (about $500,000). The most eye-catching sanction arrives in the form of a $7 million fine.

Red Bull Racing formally acknowledged and accepted the penalties through an Accepted Breach Agreement offered by the FIA. As part of the deal, the team agreed not to appeal any of the sanctions.

As the FIA announced:

“The Cost Cap Administration recognised that Red Bull Racing has acted cooperatively throughout the review process and has sought to provide additional information and evidence when requested in a timely manner, that this is the first year of the full application of the Financial Regulations and that there is no accusation or evidence that RBR (Red Bull Racing) has sought at any time to act in bad faith, dishonestly or in fraudulent manner, nor has it wilfully concealed any information from the Cost Cap Administration.”

The FIA also announced Friday that the Aston Martin F1 team has been fined $450,000 for a “procedural breach” of the cost cap.

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Red Bull Cost Cap Sanctions Explained

So, what did Red Bull Racing actually do to run afoul of Formula 1 rules? Here’s the gist of it:

  • Red Bull was found to have engaged in team spending that exceeded 2021’s $145 million Formula 1 budget cap by 1.6%.
  • Setting aside an unclaimed UK tax credit, the team would still have been 0.37% over the threshold.

As a result, the FIA determined that they are subject to the following sanctions:

  • A $7 million fine to be paid within 30 days of the Accepted Breach Agreement between Red Bull Racing and the FIA
  • A 10% reduction in Restricted Wind Tunnel Testing and Restricted Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) limits as allocated by the FIA
  • Obligation to cover costs incurred by the FIA’s Cost Cap Administration as part of its investigation
  • Red Bull Racing is subject to an automatic referral to the FIA’s Cost Cap Adjudication Panel if they fall into non-compliance with the Accepted Breach Agreement

A key detail here is that the FIA found no evidence that the team or any of its key figures acted in bad faith or made efforts to conceal this Red Bull cost cap breach, which the governing body considers to be minor in nature by virtue of being less than 5% of the $145 million budget threshold.

All told, while this news is surely nothing to celebrate, don’t expect Verstappen, Horner, Sergio Perez, and Red Bull Racing to roll into Sunday’s Mexico Grand Prix hanging their heads for a single solitary second.

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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.