Brundle: ‘FIA will have to crack down hard on minor cost cap breaches’

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Amid Red Bull’s cost cap scandal, Martin Brundle says a ‘minor’ breach of the cost cap can mean “massive upgrade on a car, maybe even a B-spec for some teams”.

After it was announced by the FIA that Red Bull is guilty of a ‘minor’ 2021 budget cap breach, the fans and F1 media are all buzzing about the controversy.

Former F1 driver, and Sky Sports’ pundit, Martin Brandle has recently given his thoughts on the issue.

“What seems absolutely crazy to me is that a minor breach can be up to five per cent overspend on the cost cap,” Brundle said.

“That is $7m and we know that is a massive upgrade on a car, maybe even a B-spec for some teams.

“So, that needs tightening up for starters, because what is the point in having $145m and then having this five per cent variant?

“Other teams are saying, ‘this gives you a head start into 2022, the car is carried over to 2023 so this is a big advantage’.”

Although the FIA did not specify by how much the cap was breached, it is rumoured that Red Bull have overspent by £1.8m or less. Brundle says the FIA will have to be strict with how they deal with this, to preserve the legitimacy of the cap.

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“It’s not, it appears, the great crime we were being told by other team principals in Singapore. We now await the news.

“I am assuming that the FIA will have to crack down hard on any minor breaches but it looks like it could be a reprimand or a fine.

“Will they want to revisit points, will it be manufacturers’ points or drivers’ points for 2021? How hard do the FIA want to be on this?

“It has got to be made clear that you stick to the cost cap or just under it or otherwise it is going to hurt. We’ll see if the FIA want to come down hard on the first year.

“But certainly it needs tightening up. We need clarity and it needs to be rigid and a five per cent variance is way too much.”

The Briton also criticised the FIA for not announcing the details of the breach and the penalty right away.

“It’s very disappointing that that information hasn’t been supplied. We’re talking about the 2021 season, not this season.

“Quite why they haven’t been able to get to the details… presumably there’s some squabbling going on behind the scenes to mitigate this to explain and come up with some reasoning.

“But it’s thoroughly disappointing that we’ve now had this announcement of what’s happened, but we don’t know the consequences.”

Ultimately, despite this controversy, Brundle believes the cap has been a success.

“I think the cost cap system is brilliant in terms of, it has been a cornerstone of why Formula 1 has been a better place than, in my view, it has ever been. Something that equalises all of these 10 teams is really hard to do.

“I guess there’s going to be a number of areas on what costs were in and out. Stopping teams spending two and three hundred million has been achieved but now we need to tighten up the last few million to make it fair. Fundamentally it has been a success but it’s about the details now.

“I think as long as it’s controlled and the penalties are crystal clear and hard enough [the cost cap will work]. I think it’s a bit like a double diffuser or floppy front wing, people gamed that system as well.

“It’s Formula 1 for you, it’s all about reading the regulations once to see what they’re saying and twice to see how you get around them to try and beat your rivals.

“I think it’s fundamentally a good system, in its early stages, and a cornerstone of why Formula 1 is so strong at the moment,” the Briton concluded.

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