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Red Bull and Aston Martin set to rock F1 with rumoured budget cap breach

Red Bull and Aston Martin set to rock F1 with rumoured budget cap breach

Red Bull and Aston Martin set to rock F1 with rumoured budget cap breach

Red Bull and Aston Martin set to rock F1 with rumoured budget cap breach

Red Bull and Aston Martin could potentially find themselves in hot water with the FIA as it is rumoured both teams breached last year's budget cap.

The cap was introduced ahead of the 2021 season as a way to try to level the playing field for the 10 teams in F1, forcing the heavy spenders in Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull to be more financially prudent.

Last year, the cap was set at $145million, although the teams were afforded extra payments due to the addition of three sprints for the first time in the sport's history.

All teams have submitted their accounts to the FIA. In an era of greater transparency, world motorsport's governing body is obliged to make public its findings. These are expected within the next week, potentially ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Rumours sweeping the paddock indicate two teams broke the 2021 spending limit, namely Red Bull and Aston Martin. There has been no official confirmation at present.

A Red Bull spokesperson has simply stated it is "purely speculation at this point", while an Aston Martin spokesperson said: "We have submitted our 2021 reporting. We are in discussion with the FIA, and we are awaiting clarification."

The FIA has made clear it will not be commenting until the formal process has been completed.

A spokesperson said: “The FIA is currently finalising the assessment of the 2021 financial data submitted by all Formula 1 teams.

"Alleged breaches of the Financial Regulations, if any, will be dealt with according to the formal process set out in the regulations.”

Should both teams be found to have breached the cap, the grey area for the FIA is what penalty should be applied.

FIA regulations only state there is a threshold of five per cent, which in this case, represents $7.25m. If below that level, a breach is considered minor.

At the time, the FIA opted not to confirm potential punishments in order to avoid a team deliberately deciding to breach the cap if it knew a penalty would be financial.

The FIA does have at its disposal the possibility of deducting points, although it is understood this is for breaches beyond five per cent.

Should Red Bull be named as a transgressor, it will add further fuel to the fire with regard to last year's controversial title fight with Mercedes.

The team pushed Mercedes to the wire in both the drivers' and constructors' title races, losing out on the latter but with Max Verstappen beating Lewis Hamilton in highly contentious circumstances on the final lap of the last race in Abu Dhabi to claim his maiden crown.

Depending on the level of Red Bull's potential breach, critics - including Mercedes - will likely point to the fact whatever extra money it used may have been crucial in the championship battle with regard to development.

Last season, teams were also faced with developing this year's car to a new set of aerodynamic regulations, adding to the difficulties in attempting to stay within the cap.

Again, there will be scepticism aimed Red Bull's way given the fact it has dominated this season with a car fit for all circuits, with its only blemish being early reliability problems.

Given the extensive costs of development this season, there is also scope that the cap - reduced by $5m to $140m this year - may have been breached again.

Once the findings of the accounts are revealed, it will be up to the FIA to announce what penalty should be administered.

Many opponents will believe the FIA has to administer more than a financial penalty otherwise all teams will likely look to breach the cap in future, and that a sporting sanction should be applied to serve as an effective deterrent.

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