Speculation over whether top teams in Formula 1 have breached the budget cap has been rife over the last few days, with Red Bull and Aston Martin being prime suspects. Both Mercedes and Ferrari have taken aim at their main rivals, claiming Red Bull had an unfair advantage in 2022 due to breaking the rules in the 2021 season. The penalties for exceeding the $145 million USD cost cap amount is split into three groups; minor, material, and procedural. Minor can be a breach of overspending anything less than 5%, while material would be classified as anything over 5%. Procedural breaches can happen if a team makes a mistake when submitting or maintaining financial records. This happened to Williams earlier this year, which resulted in a $25,000 fine. Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said that while the rules give way for 'minor' breaches, any amount over the cap would be considered a major breach a confidence between the teams. "It's a shame that we have to talk about this in October of the following season, because at this point it's not just about 2021, but already about the 2022 season," Binotto told Sky Italia. "Let's wait until Wednesday before we really come to a conclusion, but it's important to understand that a violation of four million [dollars], which is considered a minor violation, is not minor."
Cost cap breaches can benefit teams for more than one season
Binotto believes that any team breaching the cost cap could have a lasting advantage for more than one season, which is why it is important that there are substantial consequences. He added: "For us, four million is what we spend on new parts during a season. Four million is also enough to pay the salary of 70 technical people, who can come up with ideas and solutions good enough for maybe half a second per lap!" "So even if it's officially a minor violation, it's not nothing! If we talk about a half-second advantage, that advantage is also carried over to the following seasons. "It may have started in 2021, but in 2022 and 2023 it still provides an advantage, which is why this is a very important topic." The FIA is expected to reveal the results of whether or not each of the teams complied with the financial regulations on Wednesday.