FIA ‘offer Red Bull agreement’ over cost cap breach

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In the round-up: The FIA have reportedly offered the terms of an Accepted Breach Agreement to Red Bull after finding they breached the budget cap last year.

In brief

FIA offer Red Bull punishment agreement for cost cap breach

The BBC reports the FIA have submitted to Red Bull their terms for an Accepted Breach Agreement – a mechanism in the financial regulations where a team in breach accepts they overspent on the budget cap and agree to be penalised according to the terms outlined. If Red Bull refuse the agreement, they will be referred to an adjudication panel which will decide what punishment to hand them if they are considered to have overspent.

Red Bull have insisted that they did not exceed the budget cap last year when Max Verstappen won his first Formula 1 drivers’ championship. Asked yesterday whether he was concerned accepting such an agreement would be seen as an admission of guilt, Verstappen said: “I’ll see at that time, if we ever get to that stage.”

Haas unveil title sponsor for 2023

Haas F1 team have announced a new title sponsor that will join them for the 2023 season having run the entire year without the support of a title partner.

Ahead of the team’s home grand prix in the United States, Haas announced a new sponsorship deal with financial tech company MoneyGram. From next season, the team will feature the company’s logo on their car with a revised livery.

The team were previously sponsored by a Russian chemical company, who were title sponsors for the 2021 season and were set to be again this year before Haas broke ties with them after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Calan Williams to miss F2 finale

Williams won’t be on the F2 grid in Abu Dhabi
Formula 2 team Trident have announced that Calan Williams will not compete in the final round of the championship in Abu Dhabi next month.

Williams, who was racing in his first season in the series, competed in all 26 rounds prior to the final race weekend in Abu Dhabi alongside Richard Verschoor. The 22-year-old was 23rd in the drivers’ championship, with his only points of the season coming with a fourth place finish in Jeddah.

“Throughout the season, I know I demonstrated my capability at Formula 2 level,” said Williams. “Jeddah was a great result and I have been very pleased with many of the races I have put together in my rookie season, often finishing just outside the points or experiencing misfortune when running inside the scoring positions.

“However, these things can happen in racing, and as the season progressed circumstances just did not fall my way. We are now at a point where it is important that I consider what is the best path for me to pursue in the interests of my ongoing career in motorsport.”

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Comment of the day

With the FIA introducing a new rule which will deem any driver to leave their car during a session as having withdrawn from a race, @splittimes feels it was right not to allow George Russell to restart after the red flag in this year’s British Grand Prix.

A paddock announcement I did at a trackday recently:

“Please make sure you’ve fitted towing eyes to your vehicles. We have an incredibly efficient recovery team here – just ask George Russell – but it helps to speed things up if you’ve got towing eyes fitted.”

I think this is fair. George’s circumstances were fairly exceptional, and he was asking if he could drive the entire length of the circuit on three wheels to return to the pits. Credit to him for trying, but with the protesters and so on, I think race control made the right decision.
Alex Brown

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Imre Pardi!

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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73 comments on “FIA ‘offer Red Bull agreement’ over cost cap breach”

  1. Surely RedBull would find it impossible to sue someone calling them cheats if they agree that they cheated.

    Sounds like another sweetheart deal for RedBull. Congratulations to the cost cap Champions. Couldn’t have done it without the help of the FIA. Again.

    1. How can you say this? You have no information other than what bias media has fed you.
      This article doesnt outline the penalty either.

      If this whole thing truly is about Newey’s contract being a separate company then I think you’d be naive to think other teams haven’t done similar things but gotten away with it.
      Think of Mercedes and their old budget. You think that $300,000,000 just vanished?? Or that they put it somewhere out of sight of the FIA and disbursed it out of sight of the FIA?
      I mean, as long as we’re just say unfounded things, I can say this. I could even publish a speculative article then cite it here….

      Lastly….F1 is just a game for spoiled boys. I watch it for entertainment….but its just a game….

      1. Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean the media is biased.

        There is plenty of evidence since 2010 that Red Bull will push the rules to the absolute limit, claim they didn’t know they were violating the rules, and then get away without any penalty whatsoever.

        It would be like a team running an illegal fuel flow system in their engine for two years, and getting away with it on the condition they only told the FIA how they were cheating.

        There’s plenty of precedent to suggest Red Bull will get away with this too, because the FIA has no spine.

  2. Good grief – there is so much wrong that I struggle to know where to start! I give up – I love F1, but the sport is being ruined by the cult of personality.

    Screw Wolff, Horner, Steiner, the FIA – just give me my sport back dammit !

    1. Adrian, take off your rose tinted glasses and smell the spicy mustard.

      This is F1, this HAS ALWAYS BEEN F1!!

    2. Agree. Way to much noise besides racing. FIA loses, drivers losing, fans losing the sport loses. Get in those cars and race. No financial bulls.. or legal discussions what is in or out a bc.

    3. Yeah, let’s go back to the days of Brawn, Schumacher and Todt!

      Or Senna and Balestre! Ever hear of a guy named Mosley, and his eternal friendship with Ron Dennis? How about Luca di Montezemolo, or Flavio Briatore?

      This is nothing new.

  3. Proesterchen_nli
    21st October 2022, 1:29

    Where is the upside for Red Bull taking such a poisoned offer?

    1. It could be that the FIA view what Red Bull did as a loophole that needs closing. In their view, Red Bull overspent but they accept it could go either way in court. Therefore, if Red Bull accept their deal, they get a minor punishment, the loophole is closed, a big non-disclosure clause gets put on both Red Bull and the FIA and they move on.

      Ultimately, however this plays out, people have already made their minds up so the reputational damage is only minor from here. If it went to court and Red Bull won, you’re not going to suddenly have Hamilton fans saying “oh… ok fair enough, I accept they didn’t cheat.”

      If they accept it, I have no doubt it’ll be announced with a statement that says something like “whilst we still feel our interpretation of the rules was correct, we have agreed to this in order to move on and as per the terms of the agreement, we can speak no further about this in future.”

      1. The reputational damage Red Bull would incur by accepting the FIA’s position is basically limitless.

        The only way I can imagine any agreement being reached is if both parties agree that what Red Bull did was a reasonable reading of the rules as they existed at the time and any finding of excess spending was both inadvertent and the result of rules clarifications issued by the FIA either during or after the reporting period.

        Basically, I see the potential of this whole thing blowing up even more after these supposed talks have been leaked.

        1. Damage to reputation lasts barely a season in F1. McLaren had spygate. Renault had crashgate. Ferrari have had multiple -gates. The paddock and fans quickly put aside past controversy.

          Financial and or sporting penalties could last multiple years and damage Red Bull far deeper than a hit to their reputation, which let’s face it is as an edgy, disruptive team who push boundaries.

          1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
            21st October 2022, 11:44

            In other articles commentators explicitly mention all the previous ‘gates to mitigate why ORBR should basically be let off.

        2. They can admit they screwed up and take what is almost certain to be a mild punishment.

          Or they can continue insisting they did nothing wrong, and don’t understand accounting, and get hauled before a punitive board which will almost certainly hammer them MUCH harder, and establish that they did, deliberately, cheat in the 2021 FIA F1 World Championship.

      2. I think you’re on point here. Great point of view!!

    2. The adjudication panel may levy a more harsh punishment

      1. If the FIA desire Red Bull to admit wrongdoing, which Red Bull have fervently disavowed, any finding by that panel would be more desirable, regardless of ultimate outcome.

        1. As @g-funk mentions, the obvious stick to this “carrot” is that the panel will likely look quite a bit harsher on Red Bull, might conclude they are doing this on purpose and are not feeling sorry and hand out a big penalty. And the details of it will be published, meaning it will be very hard for Red Bull to keep up the pretence of all of this just being a mistake.

          By admitting guild and signing off on an agreement they can close this matter without much publicity and keep denying bad intentions etc.

          1. If Red Bull admit wrongdoing, they will get that thrown in their face for the rest of their stay in Formula 1. And beyond.

            This isn’t about a fine, this is all about (de-)legitimizing any success they had, are having, and hope to have in the future.

          2. But they DID, by all accounts, commit a violation of the budget cap.

            Whether they admit it or not.

            Just like fans are still pointing out that Abu Dhabi was an unfair result, or that Red Bull has a history of flexible wings, manually adjustable ride-height, suspicious engine maps and a tendency to make their argument in the court of public opinion.

        2. If the FIA desire Red Bull to admit wrongdoing, which Red Bull have fervently disavowed,

          As have numerous miscreants, prior to their conviction in court.

          Zak Brown made a statement that “it constitutes cheating”
          If that was wrong, I would expect RBR to have had their legal team start proceedings against him. They haven’t. Nor against others who have made similar comments/claims.
          Either RBR want to play happy families and be best buddies with the rest of the F1 teams, or it’s true.

          FIA whitewash job or no, RBR have been caught red-handed.

          1. I think RB would struggle to win a court battle over someone’s opinion… Zack Brown is correct for a start. It does not matter if they Intentionally Cheated or if they Unintentionally Cheated… He did not say that they did it on purpose. If an Olympic athlete had their meal spiked with drugs they would be Disqualified regardless… They would have been judged to have cheated. Now the other punishments handed to them would be different based on whether they had taken the drugs on purpose or accidentally but that would not change the decision on the disqualification…. If an Olympic track cyclist was found to have an illegal bike they would also be DQ’d regardless of if it was intentional or not.

    3. If they don’t accept a deal and go to court instead, maybe (by the nature of how court processes work) there’s gonna be a lot of details (about salaries and where they’re exactly spending r&d money on) out in the open which they rather keep under covers?

  4. Good grief. Why can’t Haas find more reputable title sponsors? Rich Energy? Uralkali? And now MoneyGram?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MoneyGram#Legal_cases

    I realize a lot of companies will have poor marks in their ledgers but these seem like really poor choices for partners.

    1. Not exactly overwhelmed with options, are they….

      1. I don’t know who they are approaching and who is approaching them. But as America’s only F1 team I would have to imagine there are a number of American companies who might be interested if Haas wasn’t always associated with other sketchy partners.

        1. They are also one of the least marketable F1 teams. Who wants to be associated with a loser? A poor loser, in fact.
          I don’t think they are turning away more ‘legitimate’ and wealthy options, but you can bet they are approaching them.

          And being ‘American’ (the little bit that they are) may actually work against them, particularly in a predominantly European-based series.

          1. And being ‘American’ (the little bit that they are) may actually work against them, particularly in a predominantly European-based series.

            There are a large number of American companies sponsoring F1 teams. A short list of the American companies who have F1 sponsorships who are not sponsoring Haas: Google, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Dell, Oracle, Crowd Strike, Cognizant, Verizon, Monster, AT&T, Bose, Armor All, Walmart, Citrix, UPS, AWS, Stanley Tools/Black & Decker, Alteryx, SmartSheet, Hilton, CNBC, New Era, NetApp, Duracell, PPG, and Symantec.

            A number of these are title sponsorships as well.

    2. say what you will about moneygrab, they are by far and away a way better sponsor than the others you mentioned. At least they’ve been around a while and dont actively support a terrorist organization. yes i realize the bar is super low.

      1. That typo betrays your point beautifully 🤣

  5. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say Raikkonen “romped” to the title in 2007. I recall the world feed broadcasting footage of a lot of chat which was taking place on the Ferrari pit wall to make sure he came out ahead of Massa after the final round of stops.

    1. Alonso all crossed up on that picture. Kimi thanked Massa. No controversy there.

    2. To be fair I think it meant “romped” to the race win, rather than the title win, though even that could be viewed as a generous interpretation.

      Amazing how Bernie had a remote switch in the McLaren gearbox even in those days 😆

  6. Of course Red Bull shouldn’t be suing Zak Brown or McLaren, it should sue the FIA for a leak that got the information to [Toto Wolff] before the official report came out.

    I haven’t seen this many teams trying to influence the FIA’s decision making process since the second-to-last lap in Abu Dhabi last year.

    1. I haven’t seen this many teams trying to influence the FIA’s decision making process since the second-to-last lap in Abu Dhabi last year.

      That would be our financial breach stars, persuading the now disgraced race director to change the rules on the fly vs. various other teams, including the main competitor of the financial breach stars, pointing out that the rules haven’t been applied properly I presume.

      I don’t think doing a polite version of “grow a pair and apply the rules properly” is seeking to influence the decision-making process.

      1. That would be our financial breach stars, persuading the now disgraced race director to change the rules on the fly vs. various other teams, including the main competitor of the financial breach stars, pointing out that the rules haven’t been applied properly I presume.

        Let’s not pretend as if Mercedes wasn’t lobbying just as hard to finish behind the safety car. It was Masi who had to make the call and under massive pressure from all sides he got it wrong somewhere between the rulebook, an agreement and available time+space on track. Since we’ve been over the matter a thousand times on this website alone, we can’t even say it was an easy call to make in hindsight, let alone in the heat of the moment.

        1. Let’s not pretend as if Mercedes wasn’t lobbying just as hard to finish behind the safety car.

          Lobbying to get the race director to stick to the rules is a bad thing? Did I step through into an alternate reality where rules are optional?

          1. Let’s swap the situation around, in that race verstappen is now hamilton etc.; do you really see toto wolf calling for the race to end behind SC? I don’t, I really think he’d have done exactly what horner did.

          2. Adding to what @esploratore1 says above: in the heat of the moment it wasn’t clear cut if the race was going to finish under the safety car or not. It was nip and tuck, Latifi’s car took a little longer to clear and Masi got caught up in it all. That’s bad, but in hindsight things seem easier, though even after a thousand discussions on the matter there’s no definitive conclusion.

    2. I do would like to see a full investigation into Mercedes now this is settled. How,long have they had access to privileged information? Did it influence their WCCs in the past? Did they gain a lasting competitive advantage through their close ties and infiltration of the FIA. Should they be stripped of some of their WCCs?

      1. What happened to your rhetoric that we should not condemn teams without proof and calls for calm?

        You are calling for extreme punitive action against Mercedes and engaging in extreme rhetoric against Mercedes without any evidence. It seems that association alone with Mercedes is automatically proof of guilt to you and the sole reason needed for vindictive action.

        1. You are absolutely right, I was simply returning the favour in equaling the narratives that get launched out there – the part on the punitive actions that is. It is indeed ridiculous to call for such actions. On the topic of an investigation, I feel it is justified indeed but grant them the innocent until proven guilty.

      2. This is the second time you have made this accusation in these comments. Time to provide some credible sources. Not ones from inside the orange echo chamber.

    3. To be fair, if I was competing in F1 and my team had done everything correctly and sacrificed development etc in order to stay within the cost cap, I would be calling for harsh punishments on the only team that could not stick to that… in going over the cap they were likely able to spend millions more than any other team as other teams would have kept well under the cost cap in order to make sure that they did not breach it due to a crash at one of the last races etc.

      1. True, I’m sure that if Red Bull would be on the other side of the discussion they’d be loud in the media too. At the same time I find it a bit weird that Horner focuses on Brown specifically, though he might have his reasons.

  7. It’s been mentioned with the announcement of the ABA, that the FIA changed their interpretation/specification of the unused parts rules in June 2022, 6 months after the season had finished and 3 months after the financial numbers had been delivered to the FIA.

    It’s exactly this type of behavior that makes the FIA an unreliable and unpredictable partner in this sport. Its always adhoc, willy-nilly, and patronizing.
    The same way Renault treated Piastri, Magnussen and Red Bull.

  8. Good to see Danny Ric has found a “ride” for next year!

    1. Yep @scubaboy and even better seeing the return of horsepower instead of kilowhatevers.

    2. Yes, he has to make an impression in some category if he wants to get back to a decent team, horse racing might just be that!

  9. Brown last week wrote a letter to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem – subsequently leaked –

    Cost cap report, leaked. Letter to FIA, leaked. Red Bull should sue Toto and Brown before responding to Accepted Breach Agreement. That way they can insinuate that FIA is a corrupt organization and have a better bargaining position. At least getting undisclosed deal like Ferrari.

    1. I agree some kind of investigation is needed into the ties some teams seem to have within FIA. I would like to know how long Mercedes have had inside people and whether it contributed to their success in the past which would then be meaningless or should at least be corrected.

      1. Leaks do not necessarily mean they have ties to particular teams or people. There are many leaks that happen that are just due to a disgruntled employee that thinks the issue is not going to be dealt with properly (for instance by being kept secret or fudging of figures etc). To be honest, if I worked for the FIA and I saw something that was deeply concerning that ought to be dealt with properly but was not, I would probably leak the info out too, in order of fairness. It would not mean I had a relationship with the people I leaked it too…

        However I think a major part of the info that Merc and Ferrari have was worked out by them well before the end of last season. Teams know how much parts generally cost to design and make and they know roughly how much is costs to run a team of a certain amount of people etc. It is then not that hard to work out if a team looks like it is massively overspending. If you and another team have been battling solidly and developing the same number of upgrades and then you run out of money and the other team does not then it suggests something is not quite right. Now it could be that the other team is much smaller and therefore has less costs but that is not really the case with RB… Basically those things do not prove that a team has breached the cost cap but it would certainly raise a few eyebrows and lead to some questions that need to be answered.

        Merc stopped developing any major upgrades after Silverstone last year. RB apparently developed four further major upgrades after that… Neither Merc or Ferrari believe that they could have built the same amount of upgrades without overspend.

        1. No it’s not. Red Bull was $4 mio below threshold before FIA change parts expenses rule in July that year. FIA also includes payment for ex Red Bull employee on gardening leave to Aston Martin. Also unrealized tax rebate from UK government is not Red Bull fault.

      2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        21st October 2022, 11:54

        What ties are they though. You keep banging on about this but we see nothing concrete.

        You are inferring that after an employee leaves one place and goes to another their integrity is immediately in question. Have you ever changed jobs?

        Personnel moved between teams all the time and is accepted. Just because someone worked for Mercedes they must somehow be a spy in your opinion. ORBR are going to be in for a big shock in their powertrains company based on your suppositions.

        1. That’s exactly what needs to be investigated. How come they had such info? (again after flexifloor). Then besides that a yellow card might be in order for the conduct of handling this information.

    2. Ferrari deal was brilliant, 2 years of misery.

  10. So we should burn on the stake those that wanted to publicize possible wrong doing which may or may not have had a direct effect on the outcome of the results for both 2021 and 2022, Even 2023. whistleblowers are never appreciated in any sphere. And yet ultimately they are doing the right thing which is best for the sport.

  11. Was afraid of this negotiated punishments/agreements…

    Clearly they need to have more explicit instructions on what the punishment will be in the future.

    They won’t get a big hit this time round I don’t think, however the biggest is that they have won back to back championships…

    1. I think it is important that the other teams and the Fans are given all the information possible on the breach and why a certain punishment is given for that breach. If the FIA and RB agree to keep it all under wraps then there is no way to know if something dodgy is going on or not… The FIA need to be very transparent about this. That way if RB get a small punishment then everyone knows why and then knows what other teams should expect for similar breaches.

  12. The worst thing that can happen is Redbull accepts the FIA’s findings and punishment. The cost cap is so fundamental to the future of F1 it is imperative that any breach is not hidden behind NDAs.

    Transparency is all.

  13. RE COTD
    The only issue I have with this interpretation of the rules, is that Red Bull was allowed to recover Perez’s car back to the pits when Spa was red flagged last year, work on the car then allowed to join the (non) race!

    and As to the FIA / Red Bull overspend issue – I think all teams should lobby the FIA for a transparent resolution, not yet another hiding behind NDA’s as was with Ferrari & the fuel flow incident!
    The FIA have told everyone that Red Bull was the only team that breached the cost cap (a procedural issue with AM / Williams doesn’t count!) So why shouldn’t they get a proper meaningful visible punishment for it?

    I’m 100% sure if Ferrari or Mercedes were the team in breach of the rules, RB / Christian / Helmut would be crying out for a meaningful penalty like a race ban / disqualification / limit to development time like the other teams are calling for, for them!

    1. Kevin, “The only issue I have with this interpretation of the rules, is that Red Bull was allowed to recover Perez’s car back to the pits when Spa was red flagged last year, work on the car then allowed to join the (non) race!”

      I hadn’t realised that had happened. Did Perez manage to reverse out of the barriers and limp it back to the pits, or did the tow truck pull the car ut and return it? Surely if the marshalls helped to recover the car, that counts as outside assistance which is an immediate disqualification.

      1. AlanD, Perez’s car was taken back to the pit lane on a tow truck – however, having originally announced that they were going to withdraw Perez from the race, Red Bull persuaded Masi that the race hadn’t technically started and therefore Perez shouldn’t be disqualified for receiving outside assistance.

        They then successfully argued that Perez was allowed to start from the pit lane because the rules stated that “any car which does not complete a reconnaissance lap and reach the grid under its own power will not be permitted to start the race from the grid” – which they argued did not exclude a pit lane start. That is why Perez was allowed to rejoin the race from the pit lane.

        1. Wow, they have quite some clever ideas, I never considered the pit lane start; in an actual race, it could’ve got them a lot of points, especially with the spa layout.

        2. Potentially might’ve made the difference in the constructor championship even, remember they retired perez out of precaution just before abu dhabi race ended and he was 3rd I think, that + spa points would’ve very likely done it.

  14. Suing over a letter. Priorities.

    Three races in one country are more than enough, Gunther.

    Unusually many tweets for a Round-Up, but the Sky Sports one is funny & cringey.

    I share COTD’s view.

    The On This Day image reminds me of Lewis’ famous pit limited glitch.

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    21st October 2022, 12:45

    Do we know what the agreement says?

    1. No we don’t officially. Rumours (for what they are worth) indicate it is about spare parts and a salary of an on garden leave employee. That would be less than 1% overspend.

  16. ROFLMBO!!!!
    The same same BS that the FIA & Ferrari “agreed” when the fuel flow metering saga happened!!!!

  17. The agreement is probably something like “let’s pretend that never happened and everybody will think we did something about it. Deal?”

  18. Please tell me this is not being put back and back until it is finally decided after the season has ended??

  19. Offering a plea agreement the first time we have a breach seems a bad move for everyone. Makes the budget rules seem too vague or unenforceable. Makes RBR seem they are getting away with something. Everyone else is vex.

  20. Champions by negotiation, that is what red Bull and Max Verstappen are. Champions with explanations required, with footnotes added, and with so many of their defenders needing to come out to attack others. And so it is, we have to win by any means necessary because we know we could negotiate our way out and retain our trophies. Prior to that, we threatened everyone that we would quit F1 if the rules were not changed to our advantage. Along the way, we played dirty in every way. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people willing to admire both Max and RB, riding their dream that Max is such a driver with talent. There is no need for him to have a car that needs to be produced with higher costs than anyone else. And to those who said before that F1 is boring? Let’s wait if they think it will be boring now that it is dominated by RB.

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