After delays and long days of crossfire, he finally came out the FIA report on the Budget Cap 2021. As we all know very well by now, 7 teams were perfectly in orderWilliams was found to have a procedural erroralready punished with a fine and filed, as well as the Aston Martin who, in all likelihood, will receive a similar sanction. The speech becomes much more “thorny” as far as it concerns RedBullwinner of the 2021 drivers title on the last lap of the last race, but found in violation both from a procedural point of view and, much more importantly, for a spending level exceeding the limitalbeit in the lower range, that is within 5%.
Hence, which are i factswe would like to leave for a couple of considerations more in-depth. The first is that, by open declaration of the Federation, there was no formal investigationbut what is reported is simply what emerges from the financial statements introduce yourself by teams. This means that, inevitably, the discussion was born on expense items presented as not being part of the total costs from RedBull, but which were actually to be considered an integral part of the expendable amount of money. From here emerged the various “rumors” on expense items related to catering or other minor aspects. However, this can also be read in a different light. The total defined by the regulation is one and only. The text explains how to consider each item, but it all contributes to total sum within which we must remain. If RedBull presented a budget with minor questionable items of expenditureit means that it was already evidently particularly on the edge with the fundamental items of expenditure, such as those for research and development. By centering the discussion on topics such as catering, it gives itself in fact a lower gravity image both towards the public and towards the decision-making body who, in these hours, has the very complicated task of deciding what penalty give to the Austrian team. In reality, however, since the budget cap (actually defined as “cost cap” more properly in the regulation), as mentioned, a single sum of all the individual items, whatever the item that leads to the overrun becomes irrelevantand, even, you could read the thing backwards: it’s not the cost of catering that pushed Red Bull over, but the team has spent so much on research and development that even catering can no longer be afforded.
A second consideration we would like to make is related to quantum both in terms of overshootboth in terms of penalty. As well as in the sporting regulations the penalties are unrelated to the infringementeven in that financial one applies analogous philosophywith a plethora of sanctions available to the judicial body, which it therefore maintains total discretion on the sentencewithout a direct link between precisely infringement And sanction. Reasoning in “administrative” terms the idea of having for example more overrun ranges (within or beyond 5%), and therefore of weigh the seriousness of any violationsis understandable. In the so-called Postal Code costs of various genresas well as sometimes complicated voices to interpret, so we understand the need to give weight to sanctions with respect to violations. On the other hand, however, today that this situation has arisen, it emerges a different awareness. There direct correlation between investments in research and development and performance on the track it is an established point in Formula 1, although not always perfectly respected. To maximize the concept, RedBull’s rivals – Ferrari and Mercedes in the lead – have come to publicly define how much each dollar spent is worth in lap time. Faced with this, the economic infringement then becomes comparable to a technical infringementand on those there is no assessment of severity. If a component is out of the allowed measurements even by one millimeter it doesn’t matter if it brings little or much benefitthe car is to be considered illegal and the disqualification is automatic and unappealable (see Hamilton in Brazil last year). This brings with it at least the feeling (we will never have proof) that a further expense theoretically has brought the RB16B to the track with an undue advantage, whether it was small or large, it would not matter. The concept of does not exist and cannot exist limited irregularity. This is one of the main problems facing the Federation at the moment, why find a sanction that is commensurate with a small overshootbut at the same time severe enough to be guaranteed the perception of sports justice it is no small feat and, perhaps in this case, it would have been the case with define the penalties in advance.
In absolute terms, however, another consideration that comes to us is that today it is not fair to blame the Federation for anything. We do not know yet how the infringement of RedBull will be punished, but what emerged is that the financial regulation was at an end able to identify who has not respected itso the decision on the sanction will be able to discuss when there will be, but to date, the regulation it would seem to work.
A final consideration concerns then times. One of the main complaints about this situation (and a major source of allegations against the Federation) is that “it is not possible to go back to discussing of a world championship after 10 months“. It may be true, but what is happening is part of a risk accepted by all, teams, Formula1 and FIA, with the introduction of the Cost-Cap and the related drafting of the regulations. It is well known, in fact, that the financial statements of the companies are closed in the following year and that it also takes a long time to analyze them, so the risk that any violation of the case would have emerged has always been implicit almost a year later the closing of the Championship. This means that the Federation does not have particular blame on the timing, but at the same time also that, if one accepts such a modality, one must also accept the possibility that a title will be re-discussed a year later. This is also true, however, for the current year. The “summer disappearance” of the infamous new frame of the Milton Keynes team appears at least curious, with a timing that would seem compatible with a hypothetical arrival of the first negative results of the Federation on the cap 2021. And then this world championship is also to be considered sub judice until September / October 2023? In practice, yes, and, if we decide to keep this type of regulation, every world championship will be. Who instead flaunts amazement in the face of an infraction appears a little too naivethinking that in a world of wolves like Formula 1 everyone became little lambs about money, which is the main fuel for performance development. What is happening is simply what everyone, team, Federation and Formula1, they agreed and took it into account that it could happen. Now it is up to the judges to decide how to settle this question. It goes without saying that the solution it certainly cannot be a pecuniary sanction, otherwise all the most important teams will be able to budget the extra 5% and the related penalty without batting an eye. Mattia Binotto was clear on this and expressed a point of view that in his role is clearly understandable, hoping for a restriction on future developments in some form, be it cheap or hours in the wind tunnel. On the Mercedes front, there will probably be the same kind of pressure, even if, in that case, there is the additional negotiating weapon related to the Hamilton’s World Cup.
A very final closing consideration is that it could don’t be a coincidence that own RedBull has taken the risk of this type of infringement. The team, and Red Bull itself, they are not listed on the stock exchange, they do not sell cars to the public and therefore they have no public rules to comply with or reference markets to reassure. A Mercedes or Ferrari breach would have had a weight of image on the groups, on equity values, on market confidence And of customersbringing potentially enormous damage, while for the Milton Keynes team the consequences should be far less. How minor we will probably find out in a short time.
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