Zak Brown wrote a letter to F1 and the FIA for transperancy in the cost cap breach matter as the content of it gets leaked.
After the news broke about Red Bull and Aston Martin likely involved in F1 cost cap breach during Singapore weekend, the FIA confirmed it post the Japanese GP. In a statement, it noted for a procedural problems with both the outfits.
Additionally, Red Bull were found to have breached the F1 cost cap numbers which centered around 5% as per the minor mention. The debate since then has kick-started about the extent of the penalty that both the teams could face from the FIA.
Williams had some discrepancy earlier in the year and they were fined by the FIA but in Red Bull’s case, the minor breach may result in a different sanction. As everyone waits for the answers, McLaren boss Brown wrote a confidential letter which got leaked.
It was sent to the FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 chief Stefano Domenicali but it was leaked and BBC Sport has seen the content of it. The letter is dated October 12, with it also sent to teams like Ferrari, Mercedes, Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Haas.
The letter talks in general about F1 cost cap breach and how the FIA has to be transparent about the process. The main point is about sanctions and the extent of the breach which could decide an overspending by an outfit.
Brown has largely kept ducking of points and or title wins away from the topic, where he feels cost cap cut and or wind tunnel time cut in the coming seasons for the teams who overspend. Additionally, he wants minor breach to be calculated at 2.5% than 5%.
“The FIA should communicate subsequent action and penalties at pace to maintain the integrity of F1,” wrote Brown as per BBC Sport. “The overspend breach, and possibly the procedural breaches, constitute cheating by offering a significant advantage across technical, sporting and financial regulations.
“The FIA has run an extremely thorough, collaborative and open process. We have even been given a one-year dress rehearsal (in 2020), with ample opportunity to seek any clarification if details were unclear. So, there is no reason for any team to now say they are surprised. The bottom line is any team who has overspent has gained an unfair advantage both in the current and following year’s car development.
“We don’t feel a financial penalty alone would be a suitable penalty for an overspend breach or a serious procedural breach. There clearly needs to be a sporting penalty in these instances, as determined by the FIA. We suggest that the overspend should be penalised by way of a reduction to the team’s cost cap in the year following the ruling, and the penalty should be equal to the overspend plus a further fine – ie an overspend of $2m in 2021, which is identified in 2022, would result in a $4m deduction in 2023 ($2m to offset the overspend plus $2m fine).
“For context, $2m is (a) 25-50% upgrade to (an) annual car-development budget and hence would have a significant positive and long-lasting benefit. In addition, we believe there should be minor overspend sporting penalties of a 20% reduction in CFD and wind tunnel time. These should be enforced in the following year, to mitigate against the unfair advantage the team has and will continue to benefit from.
“To avoid teams accumulating and benefiting from the multiplier effect of several minor overspend breaches, we suggest that a second minor overspend breach automatically moves the team to a major breach. Finally, given the financials involved, a 5% threshold for a minor overspend breach seem far too large of a variance. We suggest a lower threshold, 2.5%, is more appropriate.”
It is paramount that the cost cap continues to be governed in a highly transparent manner, both in terms of the details of any violations and related penalties. It will also be important to understand if, after the first full year of running and investigating the scheme, there needs to be further clarity on certain matters or any key learnings. Again, any insights or learnings should be shared across all teams – there can be no room for loopholes.
“The-cost cap introduction has been one of the main reasons we have attracted new shareholders and investors to F1 in recent years, as they see it as a way to drive financial and sporting fair play. It is therefore critical that we be very firm on implementing the rules of the cost cap for the integrity and the future of F1.”
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