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Did Red Bull breach the budget cap in 2021?

Ahead of the release of F1 team's 2021 financials, rumours suggest that Red Bull and Aston Martin will be the first teams to breach the sport's budget cap.

Media outlets from Germany and Italy have reported that Red Bull and Aston Martin breached F1's budget cap in 2021. In an effort to reduce costs associated with Formula 1, the sport introduced its first ever set of financial regulations in 2020, limiting teams to spending $145 million per season from 2021, with that figure decreasing by a further $5 million over the following two years. But with the first financial results of F1 teams in 2021 to be released next week, Germany's Auto, Motor und Sport and the Gazzetta dello Sport of Italy have both reported that Red Bull and Aston Martin spent more than their permitted allowance last year.

What punishment might offending teams receive?

According to F1 regulations, exceeding the budget cap by less than $5 million may be considered a 'minor violation' which may lead only to a fine, even though that might be worth 0.5 seconds per lap. Any potential sanction is complicated by the fact that the FIA has not yet drawn up a clear list of penalties surrounding the budget cap. Should Red Bull be found to have exceeded the budget cap, Mercedes in particular would feel aggrieved, given the controversial manner in which the 2021 Drivers' Championship was decided in favour of Red Bull and Max Verstappen, writes Auto, Motor und Sport . Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton lost the title in highly contentious circumstances at the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, when an incorrect interpretation of rules concerning lapped cars overtaking the Safety Car heavily favoured Red Bull and Verstappen. Meanwhile, the Gazzetta dello Sport writes that Ferrari are also angry with Red Bull's suspected violation, as it may explain how the drinks-backed squad's RB18 has largely been the car to beat in 2022. The teams are reportedly demanding total transparency from the FIA ​​on all financial data, ahead of the release of the results next week. RacingNews365.com has contacted Red Bull for comment.

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