Red Bull might have been handed a signficant punishment for breaching the 2021 cost cap, but the team have already served part of the penalty before the 2023 season has begun.
It was announced in October that the Milton Keynes-based outfit would be required to pay a $7 million fine and forfeit 10 per cent of their aerodynamic development allowance for breaching the financial regulations.
In the aftermath, Christian Horner suggested that the punishment could cost Red Bull up to "half a second" in lap time, while Max Verstappen predicted that it would "hurt" but voiced his confidence that the team could recover.
However, while the 2023 F1 season has not yet begun, Red Bull have already taken the hit of part of their penalty.
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Red Bull have paid off almost 25 per cent of penalty
In October, Red Bull agreed a settlement with the FIA – known as an Accepted Breach Agreement (ABA) – after being found to have breached the cost cap for 2021.
The resulting penalty consisted of three areas:
- Red Bull must pay a fine of $7 million to the FIA within 30 days of the ABA.
- The team would receive a minor sporting penalty consisting of a 10 per cent reduction in wind tunnel time over the next 12 months.
- Red Bull must pay the costs incurred by the Cost Cap Administration in this case.
Given that the ABA became official in October, this means that part of the penalty has already been served, with the $7 million fine having long been paid. This also does not fall under the budget cap.
The second part of the punishment concerning aerodynamic development allowance would also have come into effect in October, meaning that Red Bull have already completed three of the first 12 months of the penalty.
This penalty will be fully redeemed on 26 October 2023, after which the team will be allowed to test at full capacity again.
Red Bull were already set to have the least amount of development time for the 2023 car, having won the 2022 championship. Teams finishing at the top receive less time than those at the bottom on a sliding scale.
With this having already put the squad on 70 per cent of total wind tunnel hours and simulations, the remainder of the minor sporting penalty puts them at around 63 per cent for the next nine months.
While Red Bull may feel the effects of the punishment after this period due to the development gap, they will still have served half of the penalty by the time of the fifth race of the season.
Below is a breakdown of how each team's position in the championship impacts their wind tunnel and simulation time.
Wind tunnel time allowed for each F1 team
|Position in championship||Percentage of wind tunnel time and CFD simulations|
|10 or new team||115|
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