FIA president defends 'fair' Red Bull budget cap penalty

Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President with Jo Bauer (GER) FIA Delegate (Right). 17.11.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Preparation
© XPB 

The FIA has defended the penalty it handed down to Red Bull Racing for breaching the sport's new budget cap in 2021.

The team was fined $7 million and also loses ten per cent of its annual wind tunnel time which will impact future development. But rival team bosses said that the sanction was too lenient.

There had been speculation that Red Bull could lose points, possibly jeopardising Max Vverstappen's maiden world title, but the penalty left the championship standings unaffected.

Red Bull was the only team to be found to have exceeded the cap in its first year. Williams received a $25,000 fine for missing a filing deadline, while Aston Martin was fined $450,000 for 12 cases of “incorrectly excluded and/or adjusted costs."

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem insisted that the governing body had got it right, despite other teams being unhappy with what was finally handed down.

“We learned a lot and a big review is going into it," he told "Who knows in the first year what is going to be the outcome? We didn't even expect it.

“If you look at the other teams, they will say we have been light on them. And the penalty? Some of them want them to be hanged and they want to see blood.

"The [penalised] teams themselves see it as huge on them, so where do you draw that?" he commented. "We have to be fair also. Do we want to get rid of them, or do we want them to be straightened up and not do it?"

Ben Sulayem did acknowledge that the review process could be speeded up and be resolved much earlier in the year in future.

“The only thing I would say is what we did in September/October, it should be done early,” he said. “But as the first year we learned a lot from it and we're still learning, so it is better to come in May; not in October.”

To achieve this, Ben Sulayem say that the FIA will need to boost the number of staff charged with enforcing the sport's financial rules.

“The financial regulation has been the first year; policing it is very hard,” he noted. “That's why we have discussed also employees: three more in the financial side, three more in the chassis and the PU.

“If you don't have the manpower and the proper people to police it, what's the use of having this regulation?" he argued. "So more recruitment is coming ahead.

"I believe that there was a balance between finance and also the sporting penalties there.”

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