Oct.22 (GMM) Red Bull has called off a scheduled team press conference that could have spelled an end to the current uncertainty surrounding the budget cap breach.
Instead, team boss Christian Horner was seen in meetings at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and the governing body’s controversial new secretary general Shaila-Ann Rao.
Horner then headed to another meeting with Formula 1 officials and fellow teams, but it is believed that was about Brad Pitt’s forthcoming F1 movie.
Earlier, the FIA indicated it had decided the penalties for Red Bull’s rumoured $1.8 million breach in 2021 and was waiting for the team to approve them.
If the penalty is rejected by Red Bull, an adjudication panel will be convened.
“There is no new statement,” Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said when asked by Sky Deutschland about the cancelled press conference.
“I can’t say anything about it. We are dependent on the FIA and waiting for feedback.”
When told that the delays are not good for Formula 1, the Austrian insisted: “This has been going on for a few weeks so a few more hours will not matter.”
Marko, 79, said the “most unpleasant” part of the entire saga has been the “completely baseless rumours” and “serious allegations” of cheating.
“But that didn’t come from the FIA, it came from the competitors,” he said. “Winning doesn’t make you many friends and some think they’re gaining an advantage by doing this, but they’re not thinking outside the box.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said in Austin that, in theory, breaking the new financial rules should be the same as a technical and sporting breach and potentially result in disqualification.
But he said Max Verstappen’s 2021 title is not in danger.
“The violation does not allow the rules to do that, but it should serve the purpose of making everything fairer and clearer for the future,” said Wolff.
According to some, however, the current delay and confusion is making the penalty for breaking the budget cap “look more and more like horse trading”.
“It’s all happening behind closed doors but I think it could have been resolved much earlier,” former Bridgestone Kees van de Grint told Viaplay.
“It’s also strange that the FIA is trying to make an offer to a team about a penalty and the team has to accept that.”
Former Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn thinks the entire affair has been a serious cloud above the entire budget cap concept.
“The whole procedure is unfortunately not understandable,” she told f1-insider.com. “But with the little information that I have as an outsider, I can only come to the conclusion that the regulations leave a lot of room for interpretation.
“Then – and I’m talking now as a lawyer – you have the difficulty of assessing whether it should trigger a penalty and what precedent this has.
“It’s a very difficult and, above all, unsatisfactory situation for the fans,” said Kaltenborn.
“The best thing the FIA can do for itself is to not impose a penalty and admit that the rules allowed some leeway. And as that wasn’t the intention, we now need to improve the rules.”