Vasseur claims Red Bull’s punishment for budget cap breach was ‘a big joke’

Vasseur claims Red Bull's punishment for budget cap breach was 'a big joke'

According to Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur, the penalties imposed on Red Bull for exceeding the F1 budget cap were “a big joke”.

Red Bull was found guilty of violating F1’s cost gap during their successful 2021 campaign, and as a result, they were sanctioned with a £6 million fine and limits on the time they could spend developing cars.

The manufacturer acknowledged going above the $145 million cap by $2.2 million and reached a ‘accepted breach agreement’ with the FIA, which oversees the Formula One championship.

In addition to the monetary fine, they lost 10% of their wind tunnel allotment for the current season. However, Red Bull who have currently won all 12 races this season, does not seem to have been affected by the penalties.

In the drivers’ standings, Red Bull star Max Verstappen has won eight straight races and enjoys a dominating 125-point lead over teammate Sergio Perez. In the constructors’ standings, the Brackley team is currently leading with 503 points to second-placed Mercedes’ 247.

Vasseur expressed his disappointment at the FIA’s decision in an interview with the Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“A penalty like last year really isn’t severe. If it should be necessary again, such a penalty should be much heavier,” Vasseur said. “You have to keep in mind that a technical advantage will translate into a sporting advantage.

“Therefore, the penalty should be sporting and not a fine. In soccer, if you use a hand, it’s a penalty… they don’t give you a penalty.

“The deduction of 10 per cent wind tunnel time is a big joke. They have already done most of the work by then.”

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The FIA regarded Red Bull’s violation as “minor” and cleared them from working with the intention of outdoing their competitors.

The statement read: “There is no accusation or evidence that Red Bull has sought at any time to act in bad faith, dishonestly or in a fraudulent manner, nor has it wilfully concealed any information from the Cost Cap Administration.”

Vasseur isn’t the only rival to claim that Red Bull got away with their activities. Lewis Hamilton, a driver with Mercedes who lost out on the championship to Verstappen in 2021 on the penultimate lap in Abu Dhabi, commented about the controversy last month.

“Yes, it’s definitely a concern,” said Hamilton. “I mean, it wasn’t really a big punishment last time so there’s no real sanction.

“There’ll be people that will probably go for it again and know they’re just gonna get slapped on the wrist.”

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell added: “If anybody has breached any regulation, you want the punishment to represent the crime.

“There were breaches last year and, clearly, the punishment didn’t fit the crime. We don’t want to be seeing that happen again.”

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