F1’s governing body the FIA announced ahead of the Mexico City Grand Prix that Red Bull has overspent by £1.86m in 2021, the year in which Max Verstappen won his maiden world championship. 

Red Bull have been hit with a $7m fine and a 10 percent reduction in the time they can spend using their wind tunnel or computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to design their 2023 car. 

Is Hamilton No Longer the Best Wet Weather Driver?

The restriction in permitted aerodynamic research comes into effect immediately and will be enforced over a 12-month period. 

Red Bull team principal Horner described the punishment as a “significant penalty both financially and sportingly” in a news conference in Mexico City on Friday.  

“$7m is an enormous amount of money and the more draconian part is the sporting penalty, which is a 10% reduction in our ability to use our wind tunnel and aerodynamic tools,” Horner said. 

“I’ve heard people reporting that it is an insignificant amount, let me tell you know that is an enormous amount. That represents anywhere between 0.25secs and 0.5secs of lap time.

“By winning the constructors' championship, obviously we become victims of our own success by having a 5% incremental handicap compared to the second and third places. 

“We will have 15% less wind tunnel time than the second-placed team in the constructors’ championship and 20% less than the third team - a draconian amount. 

“That 10% will have impact on our ability to perform on track next year.” 

‘Zero benefit’ from cost cap breach 

Horner dismissed suggestions Red Bull derived any benefit in terms of a performance advantage on track from their overspend. 

“I stand by the statement that there was zero benefit, because the amount that we went over, we believe there are mitigating factors,” he explained. 

“If we went over because we paid sick pay, if we went over because we paid people we felt weren’t in the cap in terms of costs within catering, not one penny was spent on the performance of the car.

“I’m astounded there were no other teams that found themselves in that position but good for them that eight of them fully complied.” 

Asked if it is realistic for Red Bull to fight for the world championship in F1 2023, Horner admitted: “It’s a hit, it’s a handicap. 

“It gives an advantage to our competitors, which is why they were pushing so hard for a draconian penalty, and we are going to have to work incredibly hard in the time we have available. 

“We are going to have to be efficient with our time, with the runs that we do in our wind tunnel. 

"I have full belief in the capability of our team, I think they’ve demonstrated that time and time again. 

“There were other sporting penalties that were available for the FIA but this one was lobbied for by our competitors because they felt it hit us the hardest."