- Red Bull found guilty last year, fined US$7m
- Domenicali wants sporting rather than financial punishments
- Budget cap compliance report expected in August
Three Formula One teams are rumoured to have breached the 2022 budget cap regulations.
The 2022 budget cap eventually settled at US$145.5 million after numerous increases, something that Christian Horner claimed at the time was not enough.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) is expected to confirm each team’s compliance with the budget cap by the end of this month.
2022 has seen far deeper analysis from the FIA, which has included looking into each team’s non-Formula One activities to eliminate any potential workarounds.
Last year, Red Bull were found to have overspent and received a US$7 million fine and a ten per cent reduction in aerodynamic testing. This was widely panned by team principals as being too light a punishment.
Now, Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali has said that any future punishments need to go further.
“I would like the penalty to be sporting in case of infringement, it is something we asked for very clearly,” he told Motorsport.com.
“There are three regulations to be respected: sporting, technical and financial. Any infractions must be punished with sporting measures. You can't go in other directions.”
Crucially, Formula One does not have any say in the punishments that are handed out, as that falls in the jurisdiction of the governing body.
“Control is in the hands of the FIA,” he continued. “Personally what I have asked is to anticipate as soon as possible the publication of the investigations made by the staff of the FIA.
“But I say this only because, in this way, it does not give rise to speculation and comments that are not good for anyone.”
The hope is that publishing the results early will avoid the drawn out process we saw last year, with Red Bull being revealed as the guilty party in October.
This is once again a crucial juncture for Formula One.
The budget cap has levelled the playing field somewhat, but the opportunity to spend more than your rivals for minimal punishment – as Red Bull have shown – has thrown the competitive nature of the series into doubt.
If further teams are found guilty, then the punishment needs to dissuade future transgressions, otherwise the budget cap will begin to resemble a guideline rather than a regulation.
There is no doubt, though, that the FIA’s failure to punish Red Bull correctly will have encouraged other teams to follow suit and see what they can get away with. Formula One has always been and will always be about pushing the boundaries of legality.
If three teams are revealed soon, the fault lies solely at the feet of the governing body.