This season’s Formula 1 action seems to have now well and truly got its focus on the off-field action as opposed to what’s happening on the track.
After it was initially reported that Red Bull had overspent its budget cap during Max Verstappen’s maiden world championship in 2021, there were many who thought the FIA would go on to hand Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton the title.
However, while a specific punishment had not been levied by the FIA till now, a “minor breach” has been observed by the sport’s governing body.
A number of reasons have been argued by Red Bull to explain why they went over the budget cap, such as employee sick pay and “free lunches” that were offered to the entire staff.
Mercedes believes the additional money spent by Red Bull gave the team an unfair advantage and helped Max Verstappen gain as much as 0.5 seconds per second through better car performance.
However, a fine has now been cited as the likeliest option the FIA will levy with respect to Red Bull’s unfair spending last year.
Can Red Bull simply pay the FIA off?
With talks reportedly taking place between the FIA and Red Bull behind closed doors and the entire matter may just be swung under the mat as a result, as long as the Milton Keynes outfit pays FIA a large sum.
This figure is reportedly £10 million and if Red Bull does agree to pay this amount, the case won’t go to court and will be permanently closed in the eyes of the FIA.
This would undoubtedly lead to a heavy backlash from the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, both of whom are hoping for serious repercussions to be dished out to Red Bull.
“If Red Bull had gone behind by two million, it could close the matter by paying the FIA five times, so ten million,” Corriere dello Sport has reported.
“And in any case it would not be fair because it would sanction the right to cheat by paying an amnesty.
“Mercedes have already talked about it and, if this were really the point of failure, the Star is ready to plan extra budget and related fine to recover performance and return to the top.”