UNITED KINGDOM: The long-awaited Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) review of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championships Financial Regulation was released late evening on Monday. The review was originally scheduled to be released on 5th October, before the Japanese Grand Prix, but was subsequently postponed citing the intensive checking of the reported documents by the ten competing teams.
The FIA Cost Cap Administration issued certificates of compliance to all but three teams. The three teams found to have irregularities are Aston Martin F1, Redbull Racing, and Williams Racing.
Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team was found to be in Procedural Breach of the Financial Regulations. Meanwhile, after the review of the documents submitted by Oracle Red Bull Racing, the team was found to have Procedural and Minor Overspend Breaches of the Financial Regulations. Interestingly, both teams were the centre of budget cap breach speculations during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend a week ago.
In an interesting finding, Williams Racing was found of a Procedural Breach in regards to which the Cost Cap Administration entered into an Accepted Breach Agreement (ABA) with the team, during which the Procedural Breach was remediated in time. The team was compliant with the Financial Regulations in respect of the 2021 reporting period.
In the press release by FIA, it mentions that the review of submitted reporting documentation was done in an intensive and thorough process, along with the full support of all competitors. The FIA Cost Cap Administration noted that all competitors acted at all times in a spirit of good faith and cooperation throughout the process.
The intervention of the FIA Cost Cap Administration was limited to the review of submissions made by the teams, and no formal investigations were launched. The FIA Cost Cap Administration will determine the appropriate course of action to be taken against Aston Martin, and Red Bull concerning the Financial Regulations and further information will be communicated in compliance with the Regulations.
According to the FIA, a minor breach is defined as spending an amount equal to or under 5% ($7.25 Million) of the cost cap ($ 145 Million), which is a significant amount in itself. According to Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari team principals, every $1 million can translate into one-tenth of a second of lap time on track.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton previously stated that if his team had $300,00 more, they could have used an upgraded floor in the championship, which could have changed the ultimate result of the season.
Red Bull Racing team released a press note in the aftermath of the release of the reviews stating their disappointment and disbelief in the findings. Interestingly, the team had previously claimed that the team’s spending during the 2021 season was well within the cost cap. Team principal Christian Horner hasn’t responded to the findings as of the time of writing this article.
The overspending seems to have originated due to catering and sick leave costs by the Red Bull team. Netizens took note of the findings and took to social media to express their amusement, causing a flood of memes regarding the team overspending due to catering.