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Ferrari unhappy with “very limited” impact of FIA F1 penalty against Red Bull

Ferrari says it is “not happy” with the FIA’s penalty against Red Bull for breaching the 2021 Formula 1 cost cap, believing its true impact is “very limited.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18, 2nd position, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 3rd position, in Parc Ferme

The FIA announced on Friday it had reached an Accepted Breach Agreement with Red Bull over its alleged breach of last year’s financial regulations.

The agreement saw Red Bull receive a $7 million fine and a 10% reduction in its aerodynamic testing time for the next 12 months.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner called the penalty “enormous” and “draconian”, claiming a number of mitigating factors had led to its breach.

Ferrari has been clear in its calls for a strict sanction for any possible budget cap breach over recent months, saying it was crucial to protect the integrity of the financial regulations.

Speaking on Sky Italia after second practice in Mexico, Ferrari’s sporting chief Laurent Mekies praised the FIA for its transparency in the decision, calling it a “very clear conclusion”.

But Mekies noted the impact the extra money that Red Bull was found to have exceeded the cap by £1.8m could have on car developments.

“We have talked a lot in recent weeks about what one can do with half a million more, or a million or two or three,” said Mekies. “Two million [euros] is a significant amount and we have given our opinion several times on this topic.

“We at Ferrari think that this amount is worth around a couple of tenths [per lap] and so it’s easy to understand that these figures can have a real impact on the outcome of the races, and maybe even a championship.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Mekies explained that Ferrari did not feel the aerodynamic testing reduction would make up for the possible gain of the overspend. He also noted that with the lack of impact on Red Bull’s budget cap, the need not to spend money on extra aerodynamic testing would allow for more to be spent elsewhere.

“As for the penalty, we are not happy with it, for two important reasons,” said Mekies. “The first is that we at Ferrari do not understand how the 10% reduction of the ATR can correspond to the same amount of lap time that we mentioned earlier.

“Furthermore, there is another problem in that. Since there is no cost cap reduction in the penalty, the basic effect is to push the competitor to spend the money elsewhere.

“It has total freedom to use the money it can no longer spend on use of the wind tunnel and CFD due to the 10% reduction, on reducing the weight of the car, or who knows what else.

“Our concern is that the combination of these two factors means the real effect of the penalty is very limited.”

But Mekies felt it was important for F1 to accept the ruling and move on from the case without it dragging on much longer. He expressed his hope there would be no repeat of the saga dragging on next year, offering a quicker resolution.

“We have no choice but to move on and I believe it is very important for us and also for the whole of F1 and the fans, that for 2022, we do not have to wait until next October to see the outcome of the accounts,” he said.

“We will support the FIA to do what is needed to reach a conclusion as quickly as possible.”

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