Max Verstappen, Red Bull RB19 livery launch, 2023

Red Bull budget cap penalty won’t be ‘big limiting factor’ in title fight – Verstappen

2023 F1 season

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Max Verstappen does not believe Red Bull’s aerodynamic testing penalty for breaching the 2021 budget cap will determine whether they can defend their world championships or not.

Red Bull secured the constructors’ championship last season after Verstappen successfully defended his drivers’ championship in dominant fashion.

However, the team were plunged into controversy when the FIA declared that Red Bull had breached F1’s budget cap during its first year of operation in 2021, the year of Verstappen’s first world championship win. As a result, the team were fined $7million and had a ten-percent reduction of their aerodynamic and wind tunnel testing allocation as punishment.

Speaking at the launch of Red Bull’s new livery for the 2023 season in New York, Verstappen said he was confident the aerodynamic testing restriction would not affect his chances of retaining his title for the second successive season.

“Yes, of course I’ve thought about it, but I think we have a lot of very competent people in our factory,” Verstappen told media including RaceFans. “And of course it makes things a little bit harder.

“But I also look at it like this, I prefer to be in the position we are in than always finishing second or third in the championship because that’s way more depressing. So we have a lot of good people and I’m sure we have to be a little bit more precise of what we are doing in the wind tunnel, but I don’t expect it to be a big limiting factor in if we’re going to win the title or not.”

After winning his first championship against Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton in 2021 after a controversial final race, Mercedes struggled to match Red Bull in 2022, falling behind Ferrari in the championship. Verstappen says he cannot be sure whether Mercedes will pose a stronger threat to his title this season than in 2022.

“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “I think even at the end of the year, it looked like sometimes they had it together and then sometimes not.

“So, from my side, it’s difficult to say – because I’m not part of the team – if they fully understand everything. But I guess we’ll find out this year if they fully understood everything that they wanted to improve on the car, of course. But for sure, they they will be our main rival.

“Also I think Ferrari will be strong – but how strong is difficult to say. But Mercedes has shown, of course, over the last few years that they’ve always been really, really, really strong and they have a good group of people as well. But I trust in my people in Milton Keynes that they can build a very strong car as well, together with our engine as well. I hope that we again can have a strong package against them.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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  • 24 comments on “Red Bull budget cap penalty won’t be ‘big limiting factor’ in title fight – Verstappen”

    1. Of course it won’t effect the title. Neither will the rules that are different for Verstappen.

      1. Explain, which rules are different for him and what makes you think the ‘rules’ are never bended in favor if that other great driver?

          1. The ‘I don’t have any coherent argument to back myself up’ reply.

    2. Someone should remind him that they are “draconian”.

      1. Haha when they even admit it won’t impact them, you know the “penalty” was far, far too soft.

        1. It might be the case it was too lenient but it was a suitable penalty under the regulations as they were written and everyone agreed to them. I guess the teams need to get the penalties increased if they feel the same.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        6th February 2023, 2:57

        @g-funk no more political statements without my permission, move along folks!

    3. Who ever said cheats don’t prosper

    4. Since they’ve already ignored the budget cap once, and were heartily disagreeing that they’d done so three quarters through the following year leading me to think they were doing so again, and their entire “we run two teams that buy from a separate supplier that just happens to be part of the red bill group” structure is specifically designed to obfuscate how much they spend, I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that they don’t believe the budget cap is a hindrance.

    5. Budget cap? They didn’t bother before, why bother now?

    6. Ahhh time to savour the sweet sweet taste of teamLH tears once more, you really do spoil us with articles like this ambassador

      1. Or we could just not discuss other drivers that have no bearing on the point of the article and ignore people like you spreading negativity.

      2. Sadly, it says a lot about someone who would actively support rule breakers and ignore genuine concerns of equality and fairness.

        Not everyone complaining about the punishment is “teamlh” most just want a fair sport with punishments for unfair advantages. Please remember your happiness and “sweet, sweet taste” when you’re on the receiving end of wrong doing.

    7. I think last year the figure they theorised it would cost them was a tenth or two but they were often half a second quicker so even if it cost them time it wouldn’t be decisive to Verstappen’s title challenge. That’s just a fact. If they miss out on the title this year given their advantage last year then they’d have made a catastrophic design failure over winter imo.

      1. They weren’t often half a second quicker. Only on a few tracks that suited them.
        The RedBull and Ferrari were often within a tenth or 2.
        If RedBull had x2 Perez in the car last year we would have had an epic title fight.

        1. Bar a handful of races they were always a few tenths ahead on raw pace of all other teams. If Red Bull want to put a sub par driver in the second seat to give their number one a easy ride that’s their prerogative.

    8. “But I also look at it like this, I prefer to be in the position we are in than always finishing second or third in the championship because that’s way more depressing.”
      Breaking the rules, winning and taking a milquetoast penalty is Max’s preferred option.

      1. Which rules did he break?

        1. His team did – didn’t you hear?
          And he prefers that to coming second.
          And I agree with him that he’s more depressing when he’s second.

      2. Keep crying,….the thing is that the 2022 midsaison insinuations of the entire MB team about an illegal floor of the RB or the insinuation of Wolff about the DNF of Tsunoda at the dutch GP or the porpoising health problems Wolff and that guy played, never was a point for you says enough. Perhaps it is the media bubble you prefer.

        1. They will believe what they want. Just like the Russians and N.Koreans glued to their state TV shows. All we can do is laugh it off.

        2. Who’s crying? I’m laughing at you.
          Whatabouting instead of basking in FIA’s benevolence for only pinging RB for tuppence overspend rather than what they did.

    9. Well, budget caps were never a limitation before, so this isn’t news.

    Comments are closed.