The Race’s journos: “Red Bull should get a tangible penalty”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

The Race published their journalists’ opinions on Red Bull’s budget cap breach, with Matt Beer saying it dooms the 2021 season to “being debated endlessly”, more than Abu Dhabi did.

The FIA announced that Red Bull was in ‘minor’ breach of the 2021 budget cap. While no sanctions have been announced yet, The Race asked its journalists to give their comments.

“Regardless of the rights and wrongs here, my first reaction is just sadness and frustration that we still can’t consider the 2021 world championship resolved,” Matt Beer said.

“In fact this, even more than that Abu Dhabi restart, probably dooms it to being debated endlessly.

“It was already a season that had featured far too many over-the-line pieces of driving, far too much excessive rhetoric between rival team bosses, far too many officiating controversies and far too much aggressive fan polarisation, and it was great to have moved on from it.

“Back now we’re right back into all that, and whatever the level of penalty, one side or the other is going to be furious about it,” Beer concluded.

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Edd Straw added that when a budget cap breach happens “it’s essential that there is full disclosure of the penalty and transparency about the breach and its value”.

“But most of all, it’s vital that as part of this process the focus is on ensuring that the cost cap remains firm, and ideally is strengthened,” he continued.

“This is the chance to draw a. line in the sand of what is and is not acceptable within the submissions.”

Straw added a penalty for the breach should be such that Red Bull really feels it.

“Red Bull should get a tangible penalty. Realistically, that will not be retrospective action but likely some kind of cut in aero and other testing and perhaps a temporary reduction in its spending in future.

“But also something far more potent on a suspended basis,” Straw concluded.

Glenn Freeman reminded everyone of F1 managing director Ross Brawn’s 2019 statements regarding the cap.

“When these financial regulations were announced in 2019, Ross Brawn promised us they would ‘have teeth’,” Freeman said.

“He also said ‘you will be losing your championship’ if you breach these rules, and while a 2021 points deduction for Max Verstappen is one of the options available to the FIA for this offence, it seems unlikely.

“The only punishments that would back up the ‘teeth’ claim, beyond taking away Verstappen’s championship, would be to limit Red Bull’s aerodynamic testing, and impose a reduction in the future cost cap,” he concluded.

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