Red Bull has been docked 10% of their wind tunnel testing time because of a cost cap breach from the 2021 season. Despite this setback, they have dominated the 2023 season, winning the British Grand Prix in July. This broke a 35-year-long record by making it an eleventh straight victory for Oracle Red Bull Racing. But drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell think that Red Bull got off too easy for their violations.
The regulations around the cost cap first came into effect during the 2021 season and it was determined in 2023 that Red Bull was the only one that committed an overspend, though the amount was described as ‘minor’. They were fined GBP 6 million and lost 10% of their wind tunnel testing time for the year. Red Bull chief described this as having a big impact on their car. However this has scarcely had any effect on Red Bull’s performance this year, it seems. The RB19 has been the fastest car this season by far and has won all 10 races in 2023.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have raised concerns over this. Hamilton feels that the light punishment has given teams the green light to overspend knowing they will only get a minor punishment. His Mercedes teammate George Russell also agrees and said that the punishment didn’t match the crime.
Hamilton said, “Yes, it's definitely a concern, I mean, it wasn't really a big punishment last time so there's no real [deterrent]. There'll be people that will probably go for it again and know they're just gonna get slapped on the wrist."
Russell stated, “If anybody has breached any regulation, you want the punishment to represent the crime. There were breaches last year and, clearly, the punishment didn't fit the crime. We don't want to be seeing that happen again.”