Singapore Grand Prix: Red Bull says it is “speculation” to break the budget limit

The Singapore Grand Prix is ​​live on 5 Live and the BBC Sport website

Red Bull has described as “speculation” that they broke the Formula 1 budget limit last season.

Formula 1’s governing body is preparing to announce that two teams, Red Bull and Aston Martin, have surpassed last year’s $145m (£114m) mark.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner told BBC Sport it was “pure speculation”.

Aston Martin, the other team linked to a breach, said they were “in discussions with the FIA ​​and awaiting certification”.

The FIA ​​told teams this week that they would – or not – issue certificates to meet the 2021 financial regulations on 5 October.

Several teams questioned when approached by BBC Sport why the process to secure the budget cap was extended.

The allegations, if proven true, risk adding to F1’s problems with the credibility of the 2021 season and extending it into this year.

The claims relate to the 2021 season, when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took his maiden title from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after a controversial season-ending failure by FIA race director Michael Masi to properly implement safety car rules.

But the budget team spending in one season also includes the development of the following year’s car, so any breach would have affected a team’s performance in 2022.

The budget cap was part of a raft of regulatory changes to close the field and make F1 racing more competitive.

This year, Red Bull have dominated the season, aided by some errors and omissions from Ferrari, and Max Verstappen is poised for a second world title with several races to go.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said: “I don’t want to comment on specifics because I don’t have any information, but it’s clear that in terms of financial regulations, like technical and sporting regulations, good governance and police are in place because the integrity of the sport is the most important thing.

“We have a lot of faith in the new FIA president and his team, given the thoroughness with which they investigated the budget limit from our side.

“We trust that they will do the right thing.

“It’s also important to have the right penalties for the caps to work as intended.”

The cost limit regulations define expenditure of less than 5% as “minor” and more than that as “material”.

Sanctions for a minor infraction may include a points decision for the tournament in which the violation occurred, suspension from a limited number of events, research and development restrictions, and reduced cost limits.

For a material failure, the possibility of banning a team or driver for an entire championship is included.

The teams consider it an open secret that there has been a major and a minor infraction, at least one of which has been given this information directly by the FIA.

However, within F1 there is no indication that the results of last year’s championship will change. But there is a lot of concern among the teams that the tournament could be distorted by breaking the budget limit.

Even a small break can give a team a significant advantage.

A 5% break in 2021 would mean spending $7.25 million.

It’s in the range of what a leading team spends annually on a season’s development, so even a small infraction could be equivalent to an entire season’s worth of development.

Another way to look at the figure is that an additional $10 million would allow a team to employ 100 more people, based on the average salary of a typical top team.

The budget cap was reduced to $140 million in 2022 and is dropping to $135 million in 2023. The exchange rate is fixed at $1.2961 to the pound – so the limit is unaffected by the recent decline in the value of sterling.

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