Zak Brown, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Breaching budget cap an act of “cheating” – Brown

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In the round-up: McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has told the FIA that teams breaching the budget cap “constitutes cheating” as the sport’s governing body considers its response to Red Bull and Aston Martin’s infringements.

In brief

Breaching budget cap an act of “cheating” – Brown

F1 teams breaching the budget cap “constitutes cheating”, Brown told the FIA in a letter to the governing body on the day the breaches were confirmed last week.

The letter, reported by the BBC, argued any team that was found to have exceeded the financial restrictions should face a reduced cost cap for the following season and reductions in aerodynamic testing.

However Brown pushed for more than just financial sanctions. “We don’t feel a financial penalty alone would be a suitable penalty for an overspend breach or a serious procedural breach,” he said. “There clearly needs to be a sporting penalty in these instances, as determined by the FIA.

“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).

“In addition, we believe 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.”

Final COTA corner named in honour of Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti, Circuit of the Americas, 2019
Andretti was first to drive the COTA track
The Circuit of the Americas has announced that its final corner will be officially renamed as “The Andretti” in honour of 1978 F1 world champion Mario Andretti.

The left-hander turn 20 completes the circuit, leading onto the pit straight at the end of the lap. As well as his F1 title and 12 grand prix victories, Andretti won the 1969 Indianapolis 500 and four IndyCar championships, as well as winning the 1967 Daytona 500 and taking second place in the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Andretti was the first driver to ever run a lap of the completed COTA circuit in 2012. A dedication ceremony will be held at the corner on Thursday ahead of Friday’s opening day of practice for the United States Grand Prix.

Browning crowned GB3 champion

Hitech driver Luke Browning was crowned GB3 champion after securing second place in the penultimate race of the season at Donington Park.

Browning finished behind Tom Lebbon in a damp race at Donington Park to seal the title with one race to spare. He finished the season 46.5 points ahead of Joel Granfors, with Lebbon almost 100 points further back in third.

It is Browning’s second junior single-seater title after he won the 2020 British F4 championship. As champion, he has won the opportunity to complete a two day test in an FIA Formula 3 car later this year.

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Comment of the day

Mick Schumacher’s future at the Haas team has been brought into question due to comments from team owner Gene Haas, but @f1frog believes the second-year driver is worthy of another season in Formula 1:

Mick Schumacher made some poor mistakes earlier in the season, crashing in Jeddah and Monaco and hitting Vettel in Miami, but pretty much from Canada onwards he has improved to the point that he is now generally the better Haas driver, in my opinion, and although Nico Hulkenberg would be an update on either of their current drivers, I think a Hulkenberg-Schumacher line-up would probably be their best option if they hadn’t already signed Magnussen for next season. In fact, according to my driver ratings, out of ten for each round, Magnussen and Schumacher have rated equally this season if Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are ignored, meaning that since round three Schumacher has done as well as Magnussen despite less experience.

I hope Schumacher signs for Williams alongside Alexander Albon for next year, as I do think Hulkenberg is good enough to deserve a return, but I also think that Schumacher has done enough to deserve to stay in F1.
F1 frog

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jamiefranklinf1, Alex De Brito and Dan!

On this day in motorsport

  • 35 years ago today Nigel Mansell kept his world championship hopes alive by winning the Mexican Grand Prix, which was disrupted by a red flag caused by Derek Warwick’s huge crash

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104 comments on “Breaching budget cap an act of “cheating” – Brown”

  1. Proesterchen_nli
    18th October 2022, 0:06

    Cheating implies wilful disregard of the rules.

    If the underlying issue is something like the FIA disagreeing with the team on the classification of one of the three highest-paid team members as such, as a recent report has implied, that would not IMHO qualify for that characterization.

    1. You would think the team would approach the FIA to clarify any misunderstanding or ambiguity of the wording. This is F1 however, where “clever interpretation” is the name of the game; I do believe it is cheating when you have crossed the line.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        18th October 2022, 4:24

        That communication will be key to how this plays out. All of the teams have talked about regular communication throughout the process with the FIA so I would be surprised if that wasn’t the same for Red Bull.

        If the FIA gave provisional backing to Red Bull’s interpretation of the rules but changed their mind then the situation looks very different compared to Red Bull not mentioning it to the FIA in the first place.

        Obviously there will be records of all of this and it’ll go a long way to showing if Red Bull “cheated” or not. I doubt they’ll ever make anything public but it won’t be hard to read between the lines based on what happens.

        1. Obviously there will be records of all of this and it’ll go a long way to showing if Red Bull “cheated” or not. I doubt they’ll ever make anything public…

          It’s funny you say that. Reading the FIA tweet included in the article made me wonder if their newly created e-library would include the deal they struck with Ferrari after their fuel flow engines.

          More interestingly people still count the wins they got with those engines as if nothing happened.

          1. Ferrari never failed scrutineering, nor any technical investigation. This despite being overburdened throughout many races with sensors and other devices that interfered with the operation of the car.

            Red Bull has failed the one test they were subjected to, so it’s quite different. If one were to strike out any win because later clarifications required changes there’d be so many that the last 20 years of F1 would seem entirely different.

            Red Bull now has a chance to make their case, but they’ll have to do so in opposition to many other teams who’d love to exploit this for their own benefit. It’ll probably be a challenge to explain this away without tarnishing their recent success.

          2. So what MichaelN is literally saying is that it is not cheating if you don’t get caught. Lol!

    2. Breaking the rules when you knew the rules is cheating, there are no 2 ways about it.
      Red Bull either did it on purpose, or got it wrong, but they cheated either way.
      They also gained a large sporting advantage by doing so, and one that covers at least 2 seasons because of the cars developed and designed during last year, and beyond. You can’t unlearn something.

      The only thing that remains is the punishment – this will be what sets the standard for the sport during the cost cap era. It needs to be Draconian enough that it isn’t ever going to tempting for other teams to play the system to gain an advantage. They need to negate the advantage gained and punish the team for the wrongdoing at the same time.

      1. The problem with these statements is that it’s all still speculation. We don’t know any details and apparently nobody really seems to do. You can say they gained an advantage, but it’s still entire possible -and I’m not saying this is the case, this is just an example- that all the sporting sections of Red Bulls accounting statement are roughly equivalent to those of Merc and Ferrari. It’s still entire possible that Adrian Newey was given an “erroneous” bonus of 2 million that he wasn’t allowed to get because Red Bull interpreted some rules incorrectly (and even that statement could be false as their interpretation of a rule might be correct and the FIA is the one who is wrong, it’s not like that never happened in the past).

        You can’t set the punishment before you’ve determined the crime. Without any details on the actual crime, how would you even go about determining the appropriate penalty? Imagine if the court system worked like that and you’d go to jail for murder for 50 years regardless of any circumstances. That would be rather unjust, would it not?

        1. Yes, manslaughter, which if I understood right is when you kill someone by accident would get 50 years too if rules are applied like that without looking at the circumstances.

        2. sjaakfoo Surely it doesn’t really matter if the ‘internal’ reasoning places the miscalculation in the wages or bonus category, as it still comes from the same pool of cash. The reality is that to pay – for example – a $2000000.00 bonus they should have taken the money from another area – again for example – such as car development. It would also not be unreasonable to suggest that such a bonus may have been incentive enough to raise his own contribution.

          But this is all hypothesis, and for this very reason I believe all that matter is that the overspend occurred. Not what it was actually spent on.

    3. At the end of the day, whether it’s “cheating” (willfully breaking the rules in full knowledge that you are doing so), exploiting a non-existent loophole (thinking there is a loophole, them being told it’s not legal to do so), or just making a mistake, the rule is broken.

      If this was part of the technical regulations, it would mean disqualification pretty much automatically, even if it was because of a broken part (like Mercedes wing last year). However, as it’s part of the sporting regs, there’s much more flexibility in how it may be handled.

      The other teams are right in one thing, though: if it isn’t punished in a meaningful way, all of them will be at it. In a sport where spending a few hundred thousand can give a significant performance benefit, don’t expect to see any big budget team within the cap if the punishment is worth the crime.

    4. I think it would as I doubt Red Bull were in any doubt of the meaning of the rules and were trying to bend them in order to stay under the cap while still developing the car. I mean every other team managed to stay withing the cap and many of them will be employing various contractors. For RB to think they can get away with not including possibly the most important person in regards to development of the car in their costs is ludicrous and I think they knowingly tried to flout the rules.

      Given that every other team are likely to be some way under the budget cap (due to having to make sure they had funds to repair any damage in the last few races) then RB will likely have spent considerably more money than the other teams even if they only breached the cap by a few hundred thousand.

      There was already suspicion from other teams regarding the amount of development they managed to do last year and that was before any information would have been given to the FIA.

      However even if you did not mean to cheat it can still be classed as cheating. For instance there are many instances of Athletes accidentally consuming banned substances and then being Disqualified from competitions and then also having to serve bans. The governing bodies acknowledge that it was accidental but they still have to discipline the Athletes as they gained a potential unfair advantage. As a competitor you are responsible for staying within the rules whether it is innocent mistakes or not.

    5. It’s all Toto’s fault, Toto is bad

      1. Yes absolutely Toto made them cheat :) :)

    6. The consequences are more important than the intention. Intention is hard to prove unless you can read someone’s mind. Cheating or not, the act is like cheating, because that resulted in an unfair advantage. There are no saints in F1, everyone is trying to squeeze as much advantage as they can.

  2. How kind of Zak to forward Toto’s letter to the FIA verbatim.

    1. @sjaakfoo Mr. Brown giving his own opinion is somehow because of Toto Wolff ? This is why more and more people take you Dutch Max fans not even serious anymore, your sick obsession with Mercedes/Wolff/Ham. RBR simply are cheaters and Max is a fake double error WDC and need to loose both his fake titles.

      1. The irony here is that you repeatedly accuse Verstappen fans of being toxic.

        1. @Ruben Well, Max fans are the most toxic. Why do you think Ferrari fans put hands and feets on Max fans in Monza ? Cheering when Carlos Sainz almost burned in Austria, spitting on Leclerc banners, booing Ham etc but when Ferrari fans gave you that same energy you were nowhere to find.

          1. You obviously miss the point that, while @sjaakfoo has an observation about how Brown’s opinion neatly aligns with Wolff’s opinion, you are the one who starts the rant about Max fans. That in turn makes me wonder if you’re aware of your own contribution to toxic discussions. Not because of your point of view per se (no one is forcing you to praise any driver), but mostly by the way you put it into words. There’s no nuance whatsoever. This is aboslutely your right to do and it’s not up to me to tell you that you have to it differently. The only thing I’d like to point out is that you shouldn’t be surprised (and point your finger to the opposite side) that if you use hard words to put a verdict on something or someone, you’ll get extreme responses in return. It works both ways.

        2. 100% The toxicity is everywhere these day’s. Look at any fandom online anywhere.

          1. I sometimes think so as well, but in reality I think it is just a rather small group of UK people and media. This will all blow over and 99% of the world population really doesn’t care when nothing is done eventually. F1/FIA has been doing these things since 1950.

        3. Agree with ruben, noname is the one starting the verstappen debate and although I hadn’t seen him around for a while I remember him being one of the most pro-hamilton, anti-verstappen on the site; furthermore I don’t really like this calling people on verstappen’s side DUTCH max fans, I can say for personal experience you don’t need to be dutch to like verstappen, he reminds me of schumacher!

      2. Some people are weirdly obsessive.

      3. @noname it would be easier to take you seriously if you knew the difference between “loose” and “lose”. But the fact is that not all Verstappen fans are Dutch, and not every British F1 fan supports (or even likes) Hamilton.

        1. @nvherman Well, i am no native English speaker, i am a South American. Still doesn’t change the fact that both RBR/Max need to get those titles revoked, it’s that simple, they cheated, end off.

          1. @noname No, it’s not that simple, because outside of the FIA and RBR (possibly other teams, but who knows), no one knows how much the breach was and why they were determined to be in breach, when RBR state that as far as they were concerned, they were in compliance.

            Did McLaren’s drivers have their points revoked for the 2007 WDC after Spygate?

          2. “Did McLaren’s drivers have their points revoked for the 2007 WDC after Spygate?”

            No, because McLaren satisfied the FIA that none of the data made its way onto their car – and given how much Mosley wanted any excuse to punished Dennis back then, you can be sure they were actually satisfied.

          3. It does not matter how much they went over in my mind as every other team made it under. RB will have known that they were going to go over as they would have been keeping a very close eye on their budget, but chose to take the risk. I would put a good bet on most teams being well under the cap for the reason that they needed to make sure they did not exceed it and a big crash in one of the last races would have needed to be taken into account and therefore funds would have to be kept back in case that happened. What would RB have done if Max had smashed his car up in Turkey? They would have been miles over the cap!

            I am sorry but going over is going over and the fact that RB have been very quiet suggests they know full well what the issue is.

            Spygate was a very different thing. The FIA accepted that no technology from Ferrari was used on the MacLaren and no advantage was gained. Strangely Renault did use some of the technology on their car that they gained from the documents but they got away with it for some reason. I seem to remember the only reason MacLaren had the documents in the first place was due to Ferrari cheating and an engineer not being happy about it…. However remember that MacLaren got given the biggest fine in sporting history! Is that what you are suggesting RB need to be given?

          4. When people are this anti-verstappen, then I stop refraining from being a grammar-“you know the word”, because I am: it’s “end of”, a single f.

      4. The team bosses talk, and Mclaren is a Mercedes client. It’s good politics to have Brown make this statement, because if Wolff had done so, people would be quick to dismiss it as him being sour over the 2021 season.

        Mercedes and Ferrari have a lot to gain from making this stick to Red Bull. And given how Red Bull has acted when Mercedes and Ferrari had their disagreements with the F1, they probably aren’t going to be sympathetic.

        1. Also, Zak is quite right so [cough] what Toto or anyone else thinks is pretty academic.

        2. I mean, perhaps it is also just that all the teams feel pretty much the same given that RB are the only ones to have breached the cap….

    2. While this comment is obviously a little bit of bad feeling, I’d be surprised if all the team principals haven’t written to the FIA seeking to ensure that the FIA does the right thing.
      It’s just that Zak’s has been made public.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        18th October 2022, 10:18

        It’s funny how the teams all willingly agreed to terms like “minor breach” and weren’t insistent on specific punishments but now that the Champions have gone over the budget cap, they suddenly say “well it’s not minor and the team should have this specific punishment….” I guess they were worried about going over the cap themselves so didn’t want to agree to severe punishments at the time….

        1. However, they all still managed to stay within it, while the team that won, didn’t.

  3. Wow! F1 has a serious leak problem. This was leaked, that was leaked…can’t believe anything from F1 Teams or Administration, it was probably leaked.

    1. Very worrying thiss connection between Mercedes and the FIA. They clearly had information they legally were not supposed to have. A competitive advantage equal to an overspend situation? Who knows what WCCs Mercedes has won because of their ties within FIA? How can one team have such informational competitive advantage and how long have they had this? I feel a new investigation coming up. Infilt-gate.

      1. They clearly had information they legally were not supposed to have.

        What a load of $@#%.

        What information did they possess? That Red Bull was able to bring a spec B chassis to the championship, when no other team could afford to? That the FIA was asking Red Bull for more information? That “a team” was suspected of a procedural breach, and “another team” was suspected of over spending?

        No, this is a BS story invented by reporters or Red Bull in an attempt to deflect (or in the case of one site, a deliberate campaign of personal attacks against Toto Wolff).

        We still don’t even know how much Red Bull is supposed to have overspent by– or why Red Bull claims they haven’t overspent.

        There’s a lot of rumor and hearsay going around, and for a relatively closed community of a few thousand people, that’s going to happen no matter what. What isn’t floating around is specifics and details.

        The only “leak” is in the minds of some so-called fans who don’t understand libel laws properly.

        1. Yep, the FIA had the right to ask/suspect ETC, that is not the leak. The leak is the fact that everyone knew the FIA were looking into it.
          Think you have missed the point.

  4. There is something awfully toxic about watching all the usual TeamLH sad-acts on twitter (like Jordan etc) in a constant state of desperation ever since early 2021.

    They remain convinced that Lewis was somehow entitled to last year’s championship.

    1. You mean, by the fact that he fought back and was ahead by a huge margin in the last race, with Red Bull having no answer until the safety car shenanigans to ensure a title showdown?
      Thats not entitlement, that’s deserving.

      1. The cards fell the way they fell and it had nothing to do with either driver. Sometimes you just get bad luck in the final few laps – just ask Felipe Massa.

        It’s not a conspiracy.

        1. I think when you change sporting rule it is as close to a conspiracy as you will get.

          How about in the World Cup final, the ref decided at nil nil to hand the underdog a penalty for a foul outside the box, you know for the purposes of “entertainment”.

          It’s nonsense and not sport at that point.

          Again I stress not aimed at Verstappen (a genius) but at the FIA. It was Lewis championship until the clown Masi decided to change precedent hence why it continues to leave such a bitter taste for so many.

          1. 100% this. Well said.

          2. honestly, how dare you make sense?!

        2. There was no conspiracy, I’m 100% certain of that.

          Unfortunately, there WAS a misinterpretation of the rules that affected the outcome in Red Bull’s favour.

          There is also now an accusation of cheating against Red Bull which, if true, will have given them an unfair advantage in both 2021 and 2022.

          We can’t change the former and, as many have said, these things happen. The latter is a different situation completely. If true, the FIA have to set a precedent which is sufficient to prevent other teams from doing the same in future, otherwise everyone will factor-in a ‘minor cost-cap breach’ to give themselves an advantage.

          The ball is now in the FIA’s court and I do not envy them. If they take either or both of Max’s titles away then there will be uproar. Likewise, if they do not apply a suitable and proportionate penalty then the backlash will be huge.

          I suggest buying some popcorn, sitting back and watching it unfold…

          1. Well put @sonnycrockett, there doesn’t need to be a conspiracy for the ending of last season to be bad for Hamilton, Mercedes and all of F1 including Verstappen and Red Bull; And that it also the case and even more so now, given it’s about whether this rule now and in the future can actually fulfill the cost-cap based equalization of the sport to make it fairer for all competitors.

          2. it wasnt a misinterpretation, Masi is quoted from 2020 saying the rule as it is “all lapped cars required to unlap themselves”, its cleary as the sky he deliberately crossed the rules

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            18th October 2022, 15:56

            @sonnycrockett @bosyber I think we’ll all agree that the conversation that took place before the decision to unlap the cars and afterwards were extremely awkward akin to Masi talking to an ex-girlfriend while the current girlfriend is in the bedroom:-)

            I think Lewis was very lucky last year as he got to walk away with greatest trophy of all – his life. I think if Masi is to blame for one thing over anything else including the Abu Dhabi debacle, it’s for not warning Verstappen about his reckless driving and at some point being firm that the next offense is an automatic disqualification regardless of what the stewards say. His role as race director is always to maintain safety for the entire season and he failed miserably in that aspect and for that reason he should not be the head of any motorsport organization.

          4. If they take either or both of Max’s titles away then there will be uproar.

            You mean the amount of uproar there was from LH fans, and many other besides, about AD21?
            Different set of complainers, and undoubtedly smaller, since only someone with no sense of right and wrong would object to a minor points adjustment for 2021 where a second reason has been revealed for correcting the record of who won a fair contest having eliminated cheated results.

            2022? Well, money spent on 2022 development from the over-cap slush fund has to be punished somehow. Perhaps something that reflects the size of the funding advantage?

          5. I mean, how was it a misinterpretation? The rules were very clear and have been enforced that way for some time (by the very person who made the “misinterpretation”!)

            Why did he interpret the rules the same way for so long and then suddenly decided to interpret them differently at the moment where the championship result could be changed by his decision? Strangely the rules are pretty vague in general and are open to all sorts of interpretations but the ones regarding Abu Dhabi are perhaps the most clear and unambiguous ones in the rule book!

          6. @sonnycrockett I am perhaps not as certain as 100%, but that simply is because I do not ‘know’ and I would never be 100% certain about something that I am able to demonstrate that I know. But yes, I am as certain as I could be that it was no conspiracy.

            I know it would not be a popular option, but as much as people would be in uproar if the previous season were awarded to Hamilton, I would not personally be unhappy if Verstappen were stripped, and it was declared that there were no champion for that season. I have probably arrived there because as a Hamilton fan, others would otherwise see my view that Verstappen should be stripped as a backdoor to Hamilton gaining another championship. However as much as I would like to see that, it is more important to me that what IU consider to be a significant rule breach (whether considered a minor variant or not) is adequately punished.

            I would also repeat my opposition to financial penalties. WHY is this even an option. It just means those with money pay – for example – double for the cost of a particular upgrade or development that they normally would. Given that this really isn’t an issue for the more well funded teams, it just increase the gulf between those, and the others that could not afford the developments at the original cost.

          7. @cairnsfella

            The point of a financial penalty would be I assume a reduction in the amount they are allowed to spend next year. So all the other teams have £145million and RB are given a max of £135 million. That would potentially hit their performance improvements. However it would mean that their cheating was worth it as they would have managed to win two drivers titles and a constructors title… Any punishment has to have an element of retrospective consequences. For instance if an Olympic sprinter is found to have taken drugs they are banned from taking part for a certain amount of time but not only that they are stripped of their medals. Imagine if a sprinter was able to take performance enhancing drugs and still keep their titles! Now the sprinter may have been an innocent party and his/her team may have spiked his food, but that never gets taken into account with regard to the stripping of titles, it may have a bearing of the ongoing punishment though. I know it would be painful for some people but Max seems to have won in a car that was funded by breaking the rules which is akin to a performance enhancing drug in engineering terms. He should be stripped of points and RB should be stripped of constructors points too. Otherwise Merc could have took the view that it would have been a better bet to get Hamilton last years title by overspending and then suffer the potential consequences for the future (which to be honest this year would have made no practical difference….) In which case their gamble would have paid off…

    2. Fact is, Hamilton did everything necessary to win the championship in 2021. And going into Abu Dhabi, so had Max. But Max did not legitimately win Abu Dhabi, the race was given to him.

      Now we’re hearing that Red Bull may have had an extra few hundred thousand dollars in their budget to develop their 2021 / 2022 car with– possibly as much as several million, but I doubt that.

      Mercedes has said that with an extra 500k last year they could have easily won the championship outright (after Mercedes had to do extensive reworking of their chassis to deal with the unnecessary aero changes)– as it was, they were the only team that never spent it’s tokens on upgrading their chassis from 2020.

      So really, both of Max’s championships are somewhat suspect, and it’s not his fault.

  5. I remember 10 or 15 years ago, when the idea of budget caps was first floated in F1, many people (fans and commentators alike) were opposed on the grounds that they would be “unenforceable.”

    I guess we’ll find out very soon whether they were right.

    1. @red-andy So true about the long time history of the budget caps being enforced, or not. So much wasted money to document and then enforced, or not, on money spent by the teams.

      Budget caps is a red herring. Not about racing, but fighting over money spent. Ask Toyota.

  6. Red Bull aren’t going to stop cheating, they’ll just find another way to game the system. They have plenty of past history of doing this where they cheat until they’re found out and then say they’ll stop doing it having reaped the benefits and they never get penalised. I mean ultimately if the FIA keep letting them do it, you can’t really blame Red Bull for their actions.

    The FIA have no teeth and they’ll not do anything meaningful and even if the penalty they do is around reducing the budget cap in the future, Red Bull will find a way to ignore it anyway. Before we get ahead of ourselves and throw the book at them though it would be nice to know some actual facts on what the amount is we’re talking about in terms of the breach and why there was a discrepancy between Red Bull and the FIA’s assessment. Is this a deception attempt by Red Bull or a “honest” mistake.

    1. @slowmo It is not only Red Bull. It is every team who is fighting for a championship or even points. It is the nature of the sport. Rules are there to be broken and it is not they will cut them in half and say your team will never race again (we have seen that in the past. Andrea Moda and even some top teams missing a race or a two). If FIA wants to stop cheating they will need to write down that. Cheating equals stopping the factory. They don’t want that and that’s why all the teams want to try their limits and see how far they can go to get that extra point. The more points you get the more money you will gain.

      1. @qeki I agree that all teams will push limits to an extent but there are some teams that go about this differently. Mercedes for example have a long history of pushing the limits of the regulations but always through discussion with the FIA and they’ll make sure that something is legal before they develop it and put it on their cars including lobbying to ensure what idea they want to implement is cleared okay by the FIA.

        Red Bull on the other hand tend to look for loop holes and then run items that will pass scrutineering until such a time as their legality is questioned. The offending items are then revised or removed but the team will have been running them for a while before they’re found. Ferrari as it happens obviously also did this with their engine thus proving Red Bull are not the only one who go about their business this way.

        I have no problem if teams want to do what Red Bull and Ferrari do so as not to risk tipping off people about a trick they know but if you allow teams to do that then you have to be prepared to retrospectively take away results if they’re found to have used a “cheat” device. This a failing of the FIA as I said that they do not punish teams who cheat unless they catch them red headed.

        Unfortunately teams seem to get away with building cars to satisfy scrutineering rather than the regulations. This is why we then get teams whining when the scrutineering tests are changed to ensure they’re enforcing the rules instead of just changing the tests and banning those cheating. The FIA have already proved how weak they are this year with the delays to the new floor checks which allowed some teams to break the rules for over half a year and not be penalised for doing so (Red Bull not a prime culprit on that one though at least).

        The budget is looking like it will be more of the same weak ruling of the sport. If they’re not going to enforce the budget cap properly then get rid of it. You can’t have a situation where 8 teams are fighting with one hand tied behind their back (obviously not counting Alpha Tauri who aren’t fighting Red Bull anyway).

        1. Sure Mercedes are saints like they didn’t cheat the whole world with their fuel emissions.
          In F1 it’s common practice to develop your car and find the limits and also the limit of the rules. The RB examples that you give and call cheating are based on opinion rather than facts. It’s easy to make the same claims for other teams including MB. Trying to enforce the technical regulations and determine what is or is not allowed is already a difficult task for the stewards. The Budget Cap is only making things more complicated and I’m sure the top teams like RB, Mercedes and Ferrari have already some financial or other constructions in place to spent more money and still stay in the BC. If they want to enforce the financial regulation they have to do it during the season or just get rid of it.

          1. And yet you’ve not managed to come up with a single valid example in your rant of Mercedes cheating. Ironic you should mention fuel tampering given Red Bulls prior history of tampering with fuel flow. Lets make this very simple for you, only one team has broken the cost cap and hence cheated and that team is Red Bull and that is a FACT. The way Red Bull go about their business is plain to see and of course its my opinion, I never stated it was a fact.

          2. My rant against Mercedes? Maybe you should read your own comments again and compare them with my respons.

  7. The thing which amazes me is how little people seem to understand the concept of a budget. You can’t pick and choose what you overspent on. Any “overspend” in one area is a direct result of spending in another.

    People argue it’s for wages so it isn’t important (which is obviously unproven). But they wouldn’t have that issue if they didn’t spend as much in other areas, so the argument makes no sense at all.

    They overspent. They broke the rules. They gained an unfair advantage.

    1. Keeping some money aside for unexpected higher costs is so alien to these big teams, and the personal finances of the people who run them, that it’s no surprise they actually consider this a valid excuse. It shows just how out of touch they are.

      All the more so considering most teams don’t even hit the budget cap and can somehow run an F1 team just fine.

    2. +1

      This TBH

  8. They have plenty of past history of doing this where they cheat until they’re found out and then say they’ll stop doing it having reaped the benefits and they never get penalised.

    Just as well you said “Red Bull” prior to this, as it also applies to other teams.

    Before we get ahead of ourselves and throw the book at them though it would be nice to know some actual facts


    Bottom line – it’s the FIA’s book, and they are the only ones who decide where to throw it. If they even decide to throw it at all.
    Which is highly unlikely… Anyone expecting a strong penalty here is completely ignorant of how these rules came about, who created them and the FIA’s (long and well documented) previous form in applying F1’s rules.

      1. I agree other teams do this too but the point is not all teams do that all the time, which is very much how Red Bull go about their business. As I also stated, the issue here is the FIA not punishing such conduct rather than the teams choosing to do this because they clearly wouldn’t work in this manner if they were ever punished properly.

        1. I agree other teams do this too but the point is not all teams do that all the time, which is very much how Red Bull go about their business.

          I think all the teams that can afford to do it, do. Sometimes it’s a big deal and sometimes it isn’t.
          If the FIA agrees with a particular interpretation, or that a particular test is fine, then there is no issue at all.
          It’s not up to the teams or viewers to determine what is legal and what isn’t. It’s up to the FIA.
          And if the FIA decide not to punish harshly for breaches, then they are accepting that it will be factored into future occurrences. They aren’t so naive to think nobody will notice…..

          The FIA have almost never punished anything strongly. I don’t see why they’d suddenly start doing it now. Especially not when the commercial rights holder and the teams have more power than ever regarding F1’s management – especially a certain few big teams…

          1. Do you not remember MacLaren getting handed the biggest fine in sporting History? And that was not even given to them despite the FIA admitting there was no evidence of an advantage gained!

          2. I sure do remember McLaren being DSQ’d from the WCC, Lee. And it’s happened a grand total of exactly 1 time in F1’s 72 years.
            As I said – it’s not exactly common for the FIA to give out large penalties.

  9. Formula One has sunk to an all time low.

    Truly depressing.

  10. The overspend is an honest mistake or its cheating. As not all the expenses are part of the CCA a mistake or interpretation of the rules could be the root cause. But knowing that the teams are always looking for the limit maybe they just did it because they thought they get away with a minor overspend. The penalty that Brown proposes for a minor overspend seems fair I don’t see RB appealing a fine and less CFD and windtunnel time.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      18th October 2022, 10:25

      It all depends what evidence Red Bull have to back up their claims that they didn’t overspend. All we know so far is the FIA said they did and they said they didn’t. Any punishment (even a slap on the wrist) comes with significant reputational damage to Red Bull so their response to any punishment will say a lot about about their position.

  11. All the teams, including RBR had 2020 to understand what was in the FFP rules because they did a complete dry-run, there’s no excuse for a breach other than they just spent too much.

    How the FIA got to this point, without a clear understanding of what the consequences would be for a breach, is pretty hard to believe. Zak’s suggestions seem pretty logical – maybe the CFD % should scale with the breach in some way rather than a flat 20% I think he said. I’d probably add retrospective constructor point fine also linked to the % of the overspend, with an additional fine to reflect any positions they would now lose in the final championship order, which should be paid to the team(s) that effectively lost out on the extra prize money.

    Changing the drivers points would be harsh, though maybe for a serious overspend it’d be a necessary deterrent.

    1. They did a dry run in 2020 but Adrian Newey had a cycling accident in the summer of 2021. As I understand there is some discussion about sick leave (Probably Adrian) that was not the case in the dry run 2020 and could explain some confusion in the rules. I agree they should have set clear penalty’s in the rules but they did not because it could lead to teams taking the penalty’s same as the engine penalty’s. Somehow F1 always finds a way to define more rules while making things more complicated than necesarry.

  12. Interesting to read about Verstappen’s thoughts on finishing in F1. I’d like to see him try other things – not because I don’t want him in F1 long term, but simply because not enough of the top F1 drivers leave at their peak to try and conquer other forms of motorsport such as rallying, indycar, endurance, touring cars etc. I understand why, as F1 cars will always be the quickest, but it’d would be fascinating to see top F1 drivers tackle other series. Such as Alonso in endurance racing and Mansell in indycar back in the 90s. I’d like to see more of them do it as a full time endeavour rather than just for one off races here and there.

    1. @oweng I would imagine salary is a big part of why they don’t leave when they’re on top.

      1. @slowmo yes that would be a factor too I’m sure. But how much more money do those at the top end really need by that point?!

        I get why they don’t do it, I would just prefer that more of them did for my own selfish reason – it would be fun to watch!

        1. @oweng I just think it highlights the change in the sport over time. As Kubica sadly showed too, if you have an accident while doing another formula then it could directly affect your main income in the long term. Ultimately as a F1 driver you have a limited time to make the money for your lifetime so the more you can earn in the window the better. That’s why most F1 drivers who make it stick around as long as they can and then give other formulas a dabble when they can no longer cut it.

          I’m sure for most of us, earning 20 million a year would see it as set for life after a season or two but there is the old adage that you always live to your means. Plus a few million wouldn’t give you the comfiest retirement anymore like it would 30 years ago thanks to inflation.

  13. The rightful sporting penalty, alongside limited budget & wind tunnel time allowances for next season, would be a points deduction or championship exclusion since overspending directly helped on-track performance for last season & has helped this season.

    Alboreto corner in Monza, Andretti at COTA, coincidently, respective last corner in both cases.

    Re-liveried Lotus E20, but what city? To me, the surroundings look like NYC a bit.

    1. I was supposed to respond to COTD but completely forgot.
      Three years ago, I would’ve confidently declared that Hulk is a better choice than either Mick or Gio for any team, but not anymore.
      Simply because of how long he’s been away from active racing versus Gio, who was a full-time driver last season & has actively raced this year.
      Even more so, Mick, who presently races both in F1 & the relevant team, which automatically puts him at an advantage over changing to someone else.

  14. I haven’t cared much for McLaren’s opinion on cheating since 2007.

    Given the repair bill for the Silverstone crash was nearly 3m and the ‘minor overspend’ isn’t over what, 7m, I’m sorry that money isn’t going to buy you the upgrades to a world championship. Come on, now. Like that money is a lot to us, but to an F1 car it’s pennies.

    Furthermore, if they have overspent there will be financial records showing where that money went. If that money is in administration but their car and machinery spending was fine, punishing them by disqualification or points deduction wouldn’t be fair at all. Ridiculous to apply a punishment when we don’t fully know what they did. Nuance is a thing.

    One thing though is true – the FIA need to make up their mind quickly on what they’re going to do about this. If you’re going to points deduct, disqualify or change the results of either this year or last, do it sooner than later. The longer this remains ‘unresolved’ the more damage this will do not just to Red Bull, but to F1 as a brand. Who cares what happens on track if we can just change the results six months to a year down the line?

    1. @rocketpanda surely the only thing that matters in sport is a fair result even if long term that means changes need to be made to results historically. See cycling and athletics. I agree that we shouldn’t be judging Red Bull too harshly until the facts come to light but calling out the ridiculous situation the FIA have put themselves in again is fair enough. The rules for a breach aren’t clear in the slightest and the mechanism for publishing the nature and level of the breach is also clearly not as transparent as teams would like (at least when they’re not on the receiving end).

      1. If fairness was the only thing that mattered in sport then the ‘hand of God’ would have failed to prevent England taking the world cup. Alonso is still the winner of Singapore 2008 despite the shenanigans that got him there. My point is, fairly similar to Maradona’s, that it’s written and done. You can’t just go back and alter everything on a protracted view of fairness as what you might consider fair isn’t fair to another and ultimately where do you stop? What constitutes as fair? We could literally rewrite every race and championship if we simply undo what is ‘fair’.

        Bottom line is, until we know what they broke, how and why – which is information the FIA have, no doubt – we can’t apply a suitable punishment. There are obviously a lot of rules, a lot of details and structures and checks and balances to go through to work out what to do here – the line is not as binary as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, meaning we have to approach this with the nuance the situation requires.

        That being said, we can however be furious at the FIA for their glacial reaction times to anything that occurs in this sport.

        1. The problem with applying this logic is that any of the top teams can choose to spend $200 million next year if it helps gain some titles, safe in the knowledge that the results can be retrospectively changed. I’m just glad that I don’t have to make the decision as I appreciate it’s very difficult and will leave a sour taste for many fans and teams.

          1. *Can’t
            We need an edit button!

        2. @rocketpanda maybe it’s fair to have a legal window for results to be changed almost like with some debt you have a limited window to claim for example. I don’t think for example a 3 year timescale is unreasonable for results to be amended if new evidence is found around financial chicanery.

          Actually I’d argue the line has to be binary for a cap, you’re either in the right or wrong. You can argue over the metrics that create a final figure but ultimately there can be no grey area. I would argue the “minor” breach is actually in effect almost a grey area where it gives the FIA room to maneuver if it’s clear a team broke the cap in error and yet not completely write off their year potentially in penalty. There should have to be very exceptional circumstances though for smaller penalties to be applied. The major breach is clearly a situation where they decided the arbitrary figure by which a breach of that level couldn’t possibly be a mistake.

          The problem at present is they’ve taken far too long to review everyone’s claims and now they’ve found someone in breach they’re looking clueless in responding. The fact that the info leaked out too is pretty bad. I’ve reserved judgement so far on what I think needs to happen until we get some actual facts.

        3. You can’t just go back and alter everything on a protracted view of fairness as what you might consider fair isn’t fair to another and ultimately where do you stop?

          Schumacher, DQ’d post season.

  15. Of course it’s cheating, you don’t accidentally go millions over budget.

    1. It’s not as straight forward as you think. Why do you think it takes so long to calculate in the first place. So yes you can accidentally go over budget. More info on the cost cap you can find on the oficial F1 site but some info below

      The initial cap covered expenditure that relates to car performance. It excludes all marketing costs, race driver fees/salaries and the costs of the team’s three highest paid personnel. This remains the case.

      Further changes have been made since, such as excluding salary costs for staff on maternity and paternity leave as well as sick leave, plus the costs of medical benefits provided to team employees. This is to ensure teams are not motivated to cut costs in these areas to stay within the cap.

      By allowing teams to carry over certain major car components, such as the chassis, from 2020 to 2021, the savings made in these areas will be reflected in 2021 within their spend against the cost cap.

      The likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have workforces that are significantly bigger than those of the smaller independent teams. Working out how to stay within the cost cap, and whether a team might require restructuring and potential staff redeployment, will take time and is not the work of a moment.

      There was a mechanism in the regulations which allows for an increase in the cap to take into account general cost inflation from 2024 onwards. This has been brought forward to apply in 2021-23, if inflation is running at over 3%.

      1. The other teams successfully kept within budget and I don’t see how those factors you cite in themselves overly complicate the calculation.

        Another issue I haven’t seen addressed is whether Red Bull and Ferrari can offload some of their development budget, say, to their ‘B’ teams?

        1. Well, if the wording in the rules is as vague as the possible repercussions there’s a grey area you could possibly build an entire B-team in. There have been examples in the past where only one team on the grid found a loophole in the sporting regulations and exploited it successfully, I can see how that could work out in similar fashion for the cost cap regs.

      2. It’s not as straight forward as you think. Why do you think it takes so long to calculate in the first place. So yes you can accidentally go over budget.

        Millions of people submit correct business accounts every year, some submit dodgy accounts, get found out and are then punished.

        The likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have workforces that are significantly bigger than those of the smaller independent teams. Working out how to stay within the cost cap, and whether a team might require restructuring and potential staff redeployment, will take time and is not the work of a moment.

        and yet every other team managed to do it. It’s almost like some of them were actually trying to stay within the limits.
        I mean, even Ferrari managed to stick to the financial rules.

        1. Yes other teams stayed within budget (on paper). But that doesn’t proof that someone else cheats. We just don’t know what exactly is the issue. It’s an honest mistake or it’s cheating.

  16. Ok let’s apply the rules of logic to it

    So RBR have overstepped the budget limitation and are “ch34t3rs” (Zak dixit), deserving a very harsh and exemplary penalty

    But the amount over the budget cap is apparently less than the repairs cost from the Silverstone crash

    And a chauffeur employed by Merc was fully responsable for that crash

    Therefore Merc, not RBR should sustain that cost

    So make them pay for it

    And, hey presto! RBR are no longer over the budget cap but now Merc are!!!

    So the full exemplary penalty goes to Merc. All their wins and titles are now null and void.

    Well, since 2010. Going over the ’50s MB team, El Chueco WDCs of 1954 and 1955, Stirling Moss’ victories (alas, no WDC) seems a bit too much. Now that we are at it, removing Britney Rosberg from the WDC list seems also a bit harsh, but hey, there’s always collateral damage

    So Zak, here’s the result

    Dan Ricciardo is now double WDC (2014 & 2016) so he can retire now in style (i doubt we’ll see him back in F1)

    Seb Vettel is now septuple WDC, on a par with Schuey: 2010-13 plus now 2015, 2017 & 2018, algo pretty good for his retirement

    And Max is now a quadruple WDC: 2019 and 2020 added to 2021 & 2022

    But hey, we are not finished. The 2008 Singapore crashgate was an obvious “ch34t” and it is about time to have it corrected. Nando got an undeserved win, to be removed from his records. The victory should have been Felipe’s. And also the 2008 WDC by the way, so let’s restore it to him.

    1. Ahah, poor hamilton! But I agree with the general point that since it’s very likely the crashES causes by merc are what brought red bull over budget, certainly red bull don’t deserve such a punishment as to lose any of their titles.

      1. Merc managed to stay in budget with the crashes and damage caused by Red Bull so Red Bull should have been able to do the same… After all the major crash at Silverstone was halfway through the season and yet RB still kept developing significant upgrades after that… If they were in danger of going over budget why did they still keep developing?

    2. As I have said before, Damage repair caused by someone else should not be included in the cap. It simply makes no sense to make Teams responsible for costs that are not within their control and not predictable. Totally illogical.
      100% Lewis caused a >$1m bill for RB last season, 100% Ham’s fault, not pointing fingers at Lewis here (these things happen in F1), just making the point, why should RB or any other Team be financially penalised for someone else’s wrong doing?
      It’s a double punishment for what someone else did wrong:
      1 – They have to spend the money to repair the damage
      2 – It comes out of their cost cap.
      Absolutely ridiculous!

  17. My opinion is that this situation should not result in any punishment, it should serve to clarify some really stupid rules and ensure that teams are only responsible for what they can control.
    We should also keep in mind that we do not actually know the truth here and every Team agreed to the rules and the 5% margin, so if RB have done something wrong but within the 5%, then the punishment will be according to what all the Teams agreed on, just now that is may have happened they see an opportunity to gain something from it and they will argue the point.
    It is a weak human characteristic that we all suffer from to some degree. If I can’t get up, I’ll try pull them down.

    I’m 100% sure if the tables were turned RB would be doing the same. They are all the same, non better than the next in terms of behaviour. The only differentiator is circumstance.

  18. Spygate, illegal tyre test, fuel flow, budget cap. No further action taken. Let’s go racing

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