After weeks of rumours, the FIA officially confirmed on Monday that Red Bull exceeded the spending limit in 2021 and Aston Martin also committed an offense last year.
But that statement is not the end of a process that has been in the spotlight for some time, but what happens next is even more intriguing, since the highest body is already studying possible sanctions.
However, the cost cap issue is almost certain to drag on, as F1’s Financial Regulations are explicit about the formal process to be followed.
In addition, the procedural infractions that Aston Martin and Red Bull have committed will entail a different range of sanctions compared to the “minor spending” infraction (exceeding the allowed limit by 5% or less than 5%) that the team has also committed. of energy drinks.
What happens if Red Bull accepts that it has breached the FIA’s cost cap rules?
‘Infringement agreement accepted’ on F1 cost cap, what is it?
The first avenue that Aston Martin and Red Bull will have is what is known as the Accepted Breach Agreement (ABA).
In that case, the teams accept that they have done wrong and undertake to abide by certain measures that will be taken by the FIA Cost Limit Administration .
To reach that accepted agreement, teams must acknowledge that they have broken the rules, accept and comply with the penalties imposed, accept the costs and waive any right they have to contest.
The administration can then establish the obligations that the team must fulfill, provide for greater control, impose economic sanctions and some minor sporting sanctions, and set the costs that the teams in question must bear.
As an incentive to choose to go down the ‘Accepted Infringement Agreement’ route, teams deemed deserving of a minor sporting penalty will not be able to forfeit Constructors’ Championship Points, Drivers’ Championship Points, or have the cost cap reduced for the the following year, something they can suffer if they challenge the cost cap decision.
That leaves them only with the possibility of a public warning, suspension from one or more stages of a competition (except the race) or limitations on aerodynamic or other tests.
What if Red Bull does not acknowledge and deny that it exceeded F1’s spending limit?
‘Cost Allocation Panel’ regarding F1’s cost cap
If Aston Martin and Red Bull do not accept the ABA agreement, or the FIA deems that it is not appropriate to go down that path, then a Costs Adjudication Panel hearing will be set up.
That panel is made up of between six and twelve judges chosen by the FIA General Assembly, who will hear the details of the cases, including the representation of the teams and any witnesses that are relevant to the matter.
After the hearing, a majority verdict of the judges must be reached as to whether the party is guilty or not. In the event of a tie vote, the designated president of the hearing will have a new decisive vote.
The court will then impose any of the sanctions detailed in the regulation.
If a team at fault is dissatisfied with the result, it can appeal to the FIA International Court of Appeal .
The penalties for exceeding F1’s cost limit
The financial regulations are clear about the possible sanctions that can be imposed on teams that break the rules.
In the case of procedural breaches committed by Red Bull and Aston Martin – and which may relate to late submission of documentation, failure to cooperate with the Cost Cap Administration or provision of inaccurate information – the establish that an economic penalty will be imposed.
The only exception is that there are sufficient mitigating factors for no action to be taken, or there is a sufficient aggravating factor, in which case a minor sporting penalty may be imposed in addition to the financial penalty, or instead of a larger penalty.
With regard to minor excess spending committed by Red Bull , which is considered to be less than 5% over the limit, the ‘Cost Allocation Panel’ may impose a financial penalty and/or a minor sporting penalty. .
And what is a ‘minor sporting penalty’ in F1?
The regulation establishes six options that it classifies as a minor sports sanction.
- public reprimand
- The constructors’ championship points deduction
- The deduction of drivers’ championship points
- The suspension of one or more stages of a competition (excluding the race)
- The limitation of aerodynamic or other tests
- The reduction of the cost limit of the following year