Ferrari’s Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur, has issued a strong warning about the perceived inadequacy of the penalty imposed on Red Bull Racing for their 2021 budget cap breach.
The penalty, which Vasseur dubbed a “joke,” has raised concerns that it might set a worrisome precedent, opening the door for more teams to flout the budget regulations.
Last year, the Milton Keynes-based Red Bull team was found to have committed a minor violation of the $145 million budget cap, which was then in place.
The consequences included a $7 million fine and a 10 per cent reduction in their aerodynamic testing time (ATR). However, this punishment has been widely criticized for its leniency, especially as reports circulate about additional breaches of the budget cap.
The fallout from Red Bull’s case has sparked a broader debate within the Formula 1 community. Many are questioning the effectiveness of the current penalty system and its ability to deter future violations.
The concerns about the system’s efficacy have led to discussions about whether more stringent penalties are needed to maintain the integrity of the budget cap regulations.
As the controversy unfolds, stakeholders in the sport are paying close attention to how the governing bodies will address these issues moving forward. The outcome could have significant implications for the future of budget management in Formula 1 and the fair competition among teams.
Addressing concerns when speaking to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Vasseur insisted: “A penalty like last year really isn’t severe.
“If it should be necessary again, such a penalty should be much heavier.
“You have to keep in mind that a technical advantage will translate into a sporting advantage. Therefore, the penalty should be sporting and not a fine.
“In soccer, if you use a hand, it’s a penalty… they don’t give you a [non-sporting] penalty.
“The deduction of 10 per cent wind tunnel time is a big joke. They have already done most of the work by then.”
“A 5 per cent violation is not small, it is big,” Vasseur added.
“If you have a budget of $135 million, $80 million of that already goes to personnel, another $20 million to race costs, materials, brakes and so on.
“Making four chassis at the beginning of the season also costs about $20 million. Then you already arrive at about $120-125 million. This is about the same for everyone.
“That leaves about $10 million to develop.
“If you go a few million over your budget, then you should not look at the total $135 million, as has been said. We should collectively not shove this under the rug, because then you risk it being discussed at the table.
“There is a big difference between an innocent mistake or a choice.
“A bit like someone making a mistake on their tax return, versus a company arranging something to avoid taxes in a tax haven. We have to be tough: this is about the future of the budget cap.
“Otherwise, everyone is going to do the same thing. Then you free up budget to pay the penalty and say amen. The big constructors can afford all this.”