Aug.22 (GMM) The next round of penalties for breaching Formula 1’s budget cap should be “much more drastic”.
That is the view of Frederic Vasseur, amid rumours some top teams – again including Red Bull and Aston Martin – may once again be in trouble with the FIA for overspending.
“I don’t want to make any comments on something I’m not familiar with,” the Ferrari team boss told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Speaking in general, what I can say is that last year’s punishment wasn’t harsh enough.”
Red Bull was fined $7 million for the minor breach and had wind tunnel time further restricted.
“If it were to happen again,” Vasseur said, “it should be much more drastic. Considering that a technical advantage translates to a sporting advantage, the punishment should be sports-related, not just a fine.”
The Frenchman said Red Bull’s 10 percent reduced wind tunnel time, for instance, was “a joke”.
“The major work was already done, and what you don’t use for aerodynamics can be spent on weight savings and other areas,” said Vasseur.
“If another irregularity were to be confirmed, a severe penalty would be necessary – perhaps a one-year disqualification for 2024 or something similar.”
He admitted that managing the budget cap is “difficult” for teams, but explained: “We have perfect systems to control our expenditures, and in case of doubt, you can ask the FIA.”
Vasseur also said Red Bull’s 5 percent overspend wasn’t in fact minor, given that up to $125 million of the total costs each season are “more or less fixed”.
“Collectively, as F1, this issue needs to be resolved,” he said. “We shouldn’t sweep it under the rug because in the end, there’s a big difference between an unintentional mistake and a deliberate choice.
“It’s like the difference between making an error filling out your tax return and intentionally establishing a company in a tax haven to evade taxes. We need to be firm as the future of the cost cap is at stake.
“If it ends with another slap on the wrist, then everyone will do the same thing – allocating the funds to pay the fine and that’s it. The major manufacturers can certainly afford it.”