Sanctions Zak Brown wants the FIA to impose on Red Bull for overspending.


After committing a ‘minor’ breach of the $145 million cap during the 2021 season, Red Bull became the first team to be accused of overspending under the new Formula 1 cost cap rules.

The breach amounts to no more than 5% of the budget overspent, but the Red Bull camp disagrees with the FIA because they believe the spending cap covers the relevant costs.

Teams were already requesting that the governing body impose significant penalties on teams that violated the cost cap in any way, due to the potential performance benefits.

In a letter to FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, which was obtained by RacingNews365, McLaren CEO Zak Brown outlined the kinds of sanctions that should be imposed on Red Bull in order to maintain the respect of F1 among fans, investors, and sponsors.

Brown states in the letter that the FIA should share any “key learnings” after the first full year of running the cost cap with the teams that have “no room for loopholes” to exploit.

“It is paramount that the Cost Cap continues to be governed in a highly transparent manner, both in terms of the details of any violations and related penalties,” wrote the McLaren CEO.

“It will also be important to understand if, after the first full year of running and investigating the scheme, there needs to be further clarity on certain matters or any key learnings.

“Again, any insights or learnings should be shared across ALL teams – there can be no room for loopholes.”

In his letter, Brown accuses teams of committing a number of violations and asserts that the “procedural breaches” made by Aston Martin and Williams also “constitute [as] cheating.”

He explains: “One team was guilty of a minor overspend breach plus a procedural breach, and two further teams also in procedural breach.

“The overspend breach, and possibly the procedural breaches, constitute cheating by offering a significant advantage across technical, sporting, and financial regulations.”

He goes on to say: “A financial penalty alone is not enough for these violations. A sporting penalty must clearly be imposed by the FIA.”

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Brown outlines that teams should expect their budget cap to be reduced for the following season by double the amount that was overspent.

“We suggest that the overspend should be penalised by way of a reduction to the team’s

cost cap in the year following the ruling and the penalty should be equal to the overspend plus a further fine.

“I.e. an overspend of $2M in 2021, which is identified in 2022, would result in a $4M deduction in 2023 ($2M to offset the overspend plus $2M fine). For context $2M is a 25 – 50% upgrade to the annual car development budget and hence would have a significant positive and long-lasting benefit.”

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According to Brown, there should be a reduction in the use of wind tunnels as a sporting penalty in addition to the financial cost.

“There should be minor overspend sporting penalties of a 20% reduction in CFD and wind tunnel time. These should be enforced in the following year, to mitigate against the unfair advantage the team has and will continue to benefit from.”