According to the FIA’s official announcement on Friday, Red Bull has received a $7 million fine and a 10% decrease in its aero testing for the upcoming 12 months, and Aston Martin received a $450,000 fine for a procedural violation.
Andreas Seidl emphasised that while it was reassuring to note that the FIA’s approach was effective, he queried the severity of the fines and advocated for stronger punishments in future.
Per motorsport.com, Seidl said: “It’s mixed feelings, to be honest, I think on the positive side, it’s actually good that we have confirmation that the audit process the FIA has done with all the teams has been done in a very thorough and diligent way.”
“And which in the end, also confirmed that one team was in breach. It’s positive as well, that actually a penalty has been applied, which hopefully, is in the end, good for the sport we’re in, because it hopefully discourages teams in the future to go in the red zone, independent of if it’s financial, sporting or technical regulations.
“But of course, from our point of view, if you look at the penalty, it just doesn’t fit the breach. So it’s not harsh enough. And we obviously hope that moving forward for similar breaches, the penalties are a lot harsher.”
When questioned about the effects of the aero reduction, he replied: “Of course, 10% makes a difference on the development side. But again, if you compare it with the breach, it just doesn’t fit the breach.”
Although he stated he hadn’t viewed Horner’s press conference, Seidl also dismissed the reasons Horner gave for why Red Bull exceeded the cost cap.
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He added: “I didn’t watch it, I didn’t like fairy tales as a kid. That’s why I wasn’t interested to listen to Christian’s press conference today!”
“I think, as the findings of the FIA have confirmed for all 10 teams, in the end it’s a confirmation that the budget cap works.
“Nine teams managed to stay within the cap, and as far as I understand also managed to get close to the cap, which was the idea of the introduction of the budget cap.
“And therefore I guess, from my point of view, it will be completely wrong to blame room for interpretations or whatever happened there.”
Seidl’s thoughts were echoed by Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, who got into a verbal altercation with Horner after submitting a sensational letter to the FIA demanding severe sanctions against Red Bull.
Zak Brown said: “I’m pleased the truth is out there now and it is the result is as we expected, there was a breach of the cost cap by one team, with the other nine operating in line with the rules.”
“It is therefore only right that punitive action is taken. If the FIA is to be most effective and its punishments serve as a lesson to others when rules are broken in this way, the sanctions have to be much stronger in the future.
‘We hope that the lessons learned through this process will now mean all teams have a clear understanding of the rules in order to avoid any future breaches.
“While we are pleased to see them act, we would hope the FIA take stronger action in future against those that wilfully break the rules.”
Gunther Steiner, the team principal for Haas, concurred that neither the fine nor the penalty for the aero tests was severe enough.
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He said: “The money doesn’t mean anything to the other teams, it’s good for the FIA to get money!”
“The 10% wind tunnel cut doesn’t mean a lot, because there is not a real penalty. Yeah, you do less wind tunnel, but you can do something else. It’s as simple as this.
“What they need to do is give a penalty in money, a reduction of the budget cap basically, in dollars, that would make much more sense than 10% wind tunnel.”
“That’s the next problem. We need to have these things before. I mean, we cannot wait until September, we need to have them in June.”
Fred Vasseur, the team principal of Alfa Romeo, issued a warning that the Red Bull punishment would encourage others to take a chance and exceed the cap. He said: “It’s quite a small penalty on the sporting side from my point of view,”
“And we have to be sure that these won’t encourage teams to overspend in the future, because everybody will do his own calculation to know if it makes sense to spend X millions more one year and to have a 10% less wind tunnel allocation.
“I’m not in this case and it’s not an issue for me. And I don’t have the choice, but I’m putting myself in their position.”
In response to Horner’s emphasis on the varied interpretations of the regulations, he said: “You don’t have to underestimate also the fact that it was difficult, it was a challenge. However, we were allowed to ask questions. We all asked I think something like couple of thousand questions altogether.”