Mexico Grand Prix: Ferrari ‘unhappy’ with extent of Red Bull’s budget cap penalty

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The Mexico Grand Prix is ​​live on 5 Live and on the BBC Sport website

Ferrari says it is “not happy” with the sanction imposed on its rival Red Bull for exceeding the budget cap of Formula 1.

F1’s governing body, the FIA, said on Friday that Red Bull had breached the cap in 2021 by £1.86m and imposed a $7m fine and a 10% reduction in aero research .

Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies said Red Bull’s infringement was “significant” and “the actual effect of the penalty is very limited”.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner described the punishment as “draconian”.

Horner claimed the effect of the aerodynamic reduction on Red Bull’s car “is between 0.25 and 0.5 seconds of lap time – it’s coming from now and will be in place for a 12 month period.” .

Horner also pointed to a line in the FIA ​​judgment that had Red Bull applied the correct treatment to a notional tax credit, the team would have exceeded the cap by just £432,652. This, he said, reduced overspending from 1.6% to 0.37%.

But Mekies questioned Horner’s assessment of the net impact of the penalty.

In an interview with Sky Sports Italia, he said: “At Ferrari we think that amount (of overrun) is worth around a few tenths (per lap), and so it’s easy to understand that these numbers can have a real impact on race results and maybe even a championship.

“As for the penalty, we are not happy with it, for two important reasons. The first is that at Ferrari we do not understand how the 10% reduction in ATA (aerodynamic research allowance) can correspond to the same amount of lap time as we discussed earlier.

“Furthermore, there is another problem in that, since there is no reduction in the budget cap in the penalty, the fundamental effect is to cause the competitor to spend the money elsewhere.

“People pick the story that fits” – Horner on the budget cap

“He has complete freedom to use the money he can no longer spend on the use of the wind tunnel and CFD due to the 10% reduction, to reduce the weight of the car or whatever. else.

“Our concern is that the combination of these two factors means that the actual effect of the sanction is very limited.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports: “Overall it’s good to see there’s a penalty, whether we think it’s too low or too high.

“I think what you see is that beyond a sporting sanction and a financial fine, it’s also reputational damage,” Wolff said.

“In a world of transparency and good governance, that’s just not relevant anymore.”

Mekies’ comments follow those of McLaren Racing managing director Zak Brown, who told BBC Sport on Friday: “If the FIA ​​is to be the most effective and its penalties serve as a lesson to others when the rules are broken from In this way, the sanctions have to be much stronger in the future.”

Horner said in an interview with BBC Sport: “For a 0.37 per cent overshoot I think a 10 per cent cut is pretty drastic, it’s potentially worth a quarter to half a second of a season’s development, impacts our performance next year and makes our challenge even bigger as we head into 2023. It’s applicable from now on, so it affects next year’s car.

“Anyone who has diminished this penalty has no education as to its real performance value.”

He added that the lost time was “a huge handicap”.

Horner said, “We didn’t spend a dime of that money making the car faster.”

He added: “The FIA ​​has been tough, they are sticking to their budget cap, that was important to them.

“I believe we now have to draw a line under it, take the hit, the performance hit. We’re going to have to work harder and smarter in the time we have in the winter, which is our main development time.”

He dismissed suggestions that Red Bull driver Max Verstappen should be stripped of last year’s title, won in controversial circumstances in the final race of the season after a close battle with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

“We feel we have been reprimanded enough,” he said. “We think the public slaps we’ve had in the mud thrown by some of our competitors are enough punishment.

“It’s time to move on – Verstappen is the 2021 world champion, we are now focusing a lot on (this weekend’s) Mexican Grand Prix and trying to end the season with a bang.”

And he denied there was now an asterisk against Verstappen’s first title, won after the race director applied the rules incorrectly during a late safety car period in the final race of the season and in a year in which his team violated spending rules.

“Absolutely not,” said Horner. “Last year went down in history as one of the most titanic battles in F1 history. Verstappen was an extremely deserving champion. Inevitably there will be partisan support on either side, but the reality is that he got the job done, he won the race to the Grand Prix Final of the year and 2021 is now confined to the history books.

“People will pick a narrative at the end of the day. I think Max did absolutely nothing wrong last year. He won the race fair and square, as a team we played out of our skin to break the domination of a team that has dominated for the last seven years, nothing can diminish compared to what he did last year and that is obviously confirmed in 2022.”

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