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Brown levels "cheating" accusation after Red Bull breach
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Brown levels "cheating" accusation after Red Bull breach

Brown levels "cheating" accusation after Red Bull breach

Brown levels "cheating" accusation after Red Bull breach

Brown levels "cheating" accusation after Red Bull breach

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has claimed a breach of the F1 budget cap 'constitutes cheating'.

The FIA last week released certificates of compliance to all of the teams that had fully adhered to the financial regulations for the 2021 season. Only Red Bull and Aston Martin were not awarded this accreditation.

Both teams were judged to have made a procedural breach which does not indicate an overspend but will likely incur a fine, as was the case with Williams earlier in the year - the outfit handed a $25,000 fine in May.

But the FIA also ruled that Red Bull had made a minor breach, meaning that the team had spent up to five per cent [$7.25 million] beyond the $145m cap. It is understood that the actual value was no more than $2m.

Despite the findings of the budget cap procedure, Red Bull maintains it remained within the prescribed spending limits.

GPFans understands that on Wednesday last week, Brown sent a letter to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. This is understood to have been subsequently circulated to teams that adhered to the cap on Monday.

"The overspend breach, and possibly the procedural breaches, constitute cheating by offering a significant advantage across technical, sporting and financial regulations," writes Brown, in a letter obtained by the BBC.

"The FIA has run an extremely thorough, collaborative and open process. We have even been given a one-year dress rehearsal [in 2020], with ample opportunity to seek any clarification if details were unclear. So, there is no reason for any team to now say they are surprised.

"The bottom line is any team who has overspent has gained an unfair advantage both in the current and following year's car development."

Red Bull financial penalty 'not enough'

The FIA has a range of penalties at its disposal with regard to a minor breach that ranges from a reprimand to the deduction of points in both the drivers' and constructors' championships.

"We don't feel a financial penalty alone would be a suitable penalty for an overspend breach or a serious procedural breach," Brown continued.

"There clearly needs to be a sporting penalty in these instances, as determined by the FIA.

"We suggest that the overspend should be penalised by way of a reduction to the team's cost cap in the year following the ruling, and the penalty should be equal to the overspend plus a further fine - ie an overspend of $2m in 2021, which is identified in 2022, would result in a $4m deduction in 2023 [$2m to offset the overspend plus $2m fine].

"For context, $2m is (a) 25-50% upgrade to (an) annual car-development budget and hence would have a significant positive and long-lasting benefit.

"In addition, we believe there should be minor overspend sporting penalties of a 20% reduction in CFD and wind tunnel time.

"These should be enforced in the following year, to mitigate against the unfair advantage the team has and will continue to benefit from."

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