FIA says Red Bull is in breach of budget regulations from 2021 championship season

Red Bull breach budget
ANP via Getty Images

PARIS — Formula One team Red Bull breached F1 budget regulations last season and was guilty of “minor” overspending, the series’ governing body said on Monday.

The FIA announced the verdict of its investigation into whether F1 teams violated the spending regulations in 2021.

Red Bull took note of FIA’s conclusions with “surprise and disappointment.”

“Our 2021 submission was below the cost cap limit,” Red Bull said in a statement. “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.”

Last year, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen won his first world title on the last lap of the last race. Verstappen clinched his second consecutive title at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The FIA said Red Bull was “considered to be in procedural and minor overspend breaches of the financial regulations” in 2021 but any sanctions would be announced at a later date. FIA did not say how much the team overspent.

Going over the budget cap by less than 5% is considered a minor breach and it appears very unlikely that Verstappen will lose his 2021 title. He beat Lewis Hamilton to the title in a controversial finish to the last race. Under FIA regulations, teams found guilty of a minor overspend breach can be punished with a fine “and/or any minor sporting penalties.”

Another F1 team, Aston Martin, was considered to be in a “procedural breach” of the regulations, FIA said.

“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 body said in a statement.

F1 introduced a budget cap of $145 million last year. The aim of capping budgets was to create a more level playing field and to reduce the spending might of powerhouses such as Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

It was scaled down to $140 million for 2022 and drops to $135 million for 2023, excluding driver salaries and engine costs.

Reports speculated last month that Red Bull went above the budget cap by 5% – or around $7 million – which constitutes a more serious material breach and could be punishable by a ban. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff demanded FIA take action if Red Bull or other teams broke the rule, while Ferrari also complained.

Earlier Monday, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told BBC Radio 4 the team was confident it was under the cap in 2021, and it had been “shocked at the speculation and accusations that have been made by other teams.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.