Red Bull have been fined $7 million (€6.9 million) for breaking Formula One’s financial rules, the sport’s governing body has confirmed.
The FIA announced that the team, which carried Max Verstappen to a contentious championship victory over Lewis Hamilton last year, overspent by €2.1 million.
Red Bull have entered into a so-called Accepted Breach Agreement with the FIA which will also see their aerodynamic testing time reduced by 10 per cent next year.
The deal, which ensures Red Bull lose any right to appeal, avoids the team risking a harsher punishment, which could have included the deduction of championship points, and Hamilton being instated as last year’s title winner, which would mean some fans that like betting quite angry they didn’t bet on him.
McLaren boss Zak Brown wrote to FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem to say a financial breach “constitutes cheating”.
However, the FIA concluded that there is no accusation Red Bull “acted in bad faith, dishonestly or in fraudulent manner” when it broke the €132 million budget cap.
A statement from the FIA ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, read: “Red Bull Racing was found to be in breach, however, the Cost Cap Administration recognized that Red Bull Racing has acted cooperatively throughout the review process and has sought to provide additional information and evidence when requested in a timely manner, that this is the first year of the full application of the Financial Regulations and that there is no accusation or evidence that RBR has sought at any time to act in bad faith, dishonestly or in fraudulent manner, nor has it wilfully concealed any information from the Cost Cap Administration.
“In these circumstances, the Cost Cap Administration offered to RBR an ABA to resolve this matter. That offer was accepted by Red Bull Racing.”
In its three-page report, the FIA mentioned 13 items that Red Bull “incorrectly excluded and/or adjusted costs” in its financial submission.
These included catering, employer’s social security contributions, staff bonuses, apprenticeship levies and travel costs.
It also mentioned “Understatement of Relevant Costs in respect of provisions set forth by Article 4.1(a)(i) of the Financial Regulations (concerning the cost of use of Power Units)” and “Clerical error in respect of Red Bull Racing’s calculation of certain costs re-charged to it by Red Bull Power Trains Limited”.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who last week in Austin said he was “shocked and appalled” by Brown’s accusations of cheating, is due to stage a press conference in Mexico at 11:30am local time (5:30pm Irish time).