The FIA announced on Friday that it had reached an Accepted Infringement Agreement (ABA) with Red Bull for its breach of financial regulations last year.
Finally, Red Bull Racing will have to pay a fine of 7 million dollars, and will see its test time in the wind tunnel reduced by 10% over the next 12 months.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner called the penalty “huge” and “draconian”, attributing the offense to a number of minor factors.
Ferrari had been clear in its calls for a strict sanction for any infringement of the budget cap in recent months, citing its crucial importance within financial regulations.
Speaking to Sky Italia after FP2 of the Mexican Grand Prix, Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies praised the FIA for its transparency in the decision, calling the conclusion “very clear”.
But Mekies pointed out that the benefit Red Bull gained from exceeding the limit by £1.8m outweighs the disadvantage they will face from the penalty.
“We’ve talked a lot in the last few weeks about what can be done with half a million, one or two or three more,” Mekies said. “Two million [euros] is a significant amount and we have given our opinion several times on this issue.”
“At Ferrari we think that this amount is equivalent to a couple of tenths [per lap], and therefore it is easy to understand that these figures can have a real impact on the outcome of races, and even on a championship.”
Mekies explained that Ferrari did not believe that the reduction in aerodynamic testing would offset the potential gain from overspending. He also noted that with the lack of impact on Red Bull’s budget cap, the need not to spend money on additional aerodynamic testing will allow more to be spent on other things.
“As for the penalty, we’re not happy with it, for two important reasons,” Mekies said. “The first is that at Ferrari we don’t understand how the 10% reduction in ATR can correspond to the same amount of lap time that we mentioned before.
“Also, there is another problem with that. Since there is no cost reduction in the penalty, the basic effect is that the team ends up diverting that money to another part of the project.”
“[Red Bull] is completely free to use the money that they can no longer spend on using the wind tunnel and CFD to reduce the weight of the car, or who knows what else.”
“Our concern is that the combination of these two factors makes the actual effect of the penalty very limited.”
However, Mekies considered that it is important that F1 accept the sentence and end the case without it taking much longer. He expressed his hope that the aforementioned events will not be repeated, offering a faster resolution.
“We have no choice but to go ahead and I think it is very important for us and also for the whole of F1 that for 2022 we don’t have to wait until next October to see the result of the accounts,” he said.
“We will support the FIA in doing what is necessary to reach a conclusion as soon as possible.”
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