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Zak Brown Calls for Stringent Punishment amid Red Bull Cost Cap Saga

McLaren F1 boss Zak Brown writes letter to governing body FIA

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED KINGDOM: Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren Racing, wrote a letter to Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body of Formula One, and sent a copy of the same to F1 president Stefano Domenicali. He called for penalties that will affect both the finance and performance of the guilty parties.

Zak Brown, however, didn’t refer directly to Red Bull or Aston Martin, the teams which were found to be not per the cost cap regulations. Aston Martin was found to be in a procedural breach, while Red Bull was found to have spent over the set limit by a minor margin. Williams Racing was fined $25,000 in May for an earlier procedural breach.

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In the letter dated 12th October, Zak Brown expressed his regarding the cost cap breach. He praised the FIA’s work on the cost cap, saying the policing of the cost cap was ‘critical’ for the sport’s future. He suggested that any team guilty of breaching the budget limit should be sanctioned strictly by giving a fine equal to twice the amount of overspend and a reduction in their permitted research and development for next year.

According to Zak Brown, the overspending breaches constituted cheating as they offered a significant advantage across the technical, sporting, and financial regulations set by FIA. He felt that the FIA had run an extremely thorough, collaborative, and open process in enforcing the cost cap.

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The teams were given a one-year rehearsal in 2020, with many opportunities for the teams to seek any clarification in case any of the details were unclear. He adds that there was no reason for any team to have misinterpreted the rules. Any team who had overspent the limit would gain an unfair advantage in both the current and following year’s car development. 

Zak Brown, in his letter, adds that a financial penalty alone would not be enough for an overspending breach or a serious procedural breach.

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Zak Brown proposed a set of tweaks to the rules of the cost cap regulation to negate what he sees as weaknesses, exposed by the process of regulating cost cap in its first season. He suggested moving teams that were found guilty of accumulating and benefiting from the multiplier effect of several minor overspend breaches to a major breach category and applying sanctions that were set for a major overspend.

He called for more transparency in the administerial proceeding as the information regarding Red Bull’s breach and whether the team will accept the FIA’s findings and related ‘accepted breach agreement’ has not yet been made public. 

The budget cap was introduced in the 2021 season in an attempt to bridge the gap between resources available to the big and smaller teams due to the financial constraints of the latter. It took until October this year for the FIA to release its findings because of the complex nature of the process.

Also Read: Red Bull’s Helmut Marko Confident amid Budget Cap Saga 


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