Red Bull found guilty of 'minor' budget breach by Formula One governing body

Team of world champion Max Verstappen are 'surprised and disappointed' by FIA verdict

Powered by automated translation

Red Bull have been found guilty of a “minor” budget violation Formula One's governing body announced on Monday.

Just days after Red Bull driver Max Vertappen secured his second driver's title in a row after victory in Japan, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said that the team exceeded the $145 million (£114m) spending limit during 2021, adding that the offence was a “minor violation”. This means the team exceeded the cap by less than five per cent, or $7.25m.

Aston Martin has also been found to be in breach of Formula One financial rules, according to the FIA, adding that any punishment would be decided at a later date. Both teams have the possibility of appealing against the decision.

“We note the findings by the FIA of 'minor overspend breaches' … with surprise and disappointment,” tweeted Red Bull. “Our 2021 submission was below the cost-cap limit, 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.

“Despite the conjecture and positioning of others, there is of course a process under the regulations with the FIA which we will respectfully follow while we consider all the options available to us.”

The cap came into effect last season and was intended to limit spending to make the sport viable and also to close the competitive gap between big and small teams. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull were particularly affected.

Verstappen still ended the 2021 season by edging Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes to win his first world title after a thrilling final race in Abu Dhabi.

The cap was scaled down to $140m for 2022 and drops to $135m for 2023, excluding driver salaries and engine costs.

Reports speculated last month that Red Bull went above the budget cap, 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 boss Mattia Binotto said on Sunday that even a so-called "minor" breach was a significant offence.

Earlier on Monday, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner had insisted that the team had not breached any rules in 2021.

"We're very confident we're within the cap and within those financial regulations," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"So we've been shocked at the speculation and accusations that have been made by other teams. We wait for the FIA to conclude their process and we wait to see what comes out. Anything other than compliance we'll be extremely surprised at."

Updated: October 10, 2022, 6:13 PM