Those questions have yet to be answered. What is clear now is that Red Bull has only been found guilty of a “minor overuse”. This means that the sum by which they exceeded the cap is less than five percent of the total cap (ie, an overspend of less than $7.25 million). Red Bull’s actual overspending is believed to be far lower than that. Maybe as low as between £1m-£1.8m. There are also paddock whispers that it relates to areas such as catering and legal fees.
Under the rules, the penalty for a “minor infraction” is a financial penalty and/or any minor sporting sanctions.
In theory, this could mean a loss of championship points from one or both of the 2021 drivers’ and constructors’ championships, suspension from one or more stages of last year’s championship, a reduction of their future cap or restrictions on future testing.
In practice, it is believed that serious sporting sanctions, which would involve the championship, are likely to apply only to teams that were obstructive during the process and exhibited “aggravating” conduct such as “bad faith, dishonesty, willful concealment or fraud”.
The FIA’s statement on Monday made it clear that “all competitors gave their full support” and “at all times acted in a spirit of good faith and cooperation throughout the process” – a strong hint perhaps that a financial penalty will be sufficient.
The statement also made it clear that the FIA’s role in the process this year was “limited to reviewing participants’ submissions and that no full formal investigations were launched”.
This is perhaps a reference to the claims made by Wolff in Singapore that Red Bull’s submission had been investigated “for weeks and months”.
The FIA said its Cost Cap Administration was currently “determining the appropriate course of action to be taken under the Financial Regulations in respect of Aston Martin and Red Bull” and further information would be “communicated in accordance with the regulations”.
Assuming it is only a financial penalty, Red Bull is thought likely to accept the breach and enter into an Accepted Infringement Agreement with the FIA rather than try to challenge the decision, which could risk escalating the penalty.