Ferrari’s Vasseur Criticizes ‘Too Light’ Red Bull F1 Cost Cap Penalty

If your team ain’t doing so well, perhaps find excuses as to why others are.

byJerry Perez|
F1 photo

Last October, the FIA announced that the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team was guilty of exceeding the $145 million cost cap set in place for the 2021 racing season. The team was ultimately fined $7 million and a 10% reduction in wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics testing. Many team executives were outraged over the penalty, equating it to a slap on the wrist, and that sentiment still persists now, as Ferrari F1 boss Fred Vasseur recently told the media.

"I don't want to say that they didn't do a good job, because I think honestly that they did a very good job on the car," said Vasseur, according to "I am not trying to find an excuse at all. It's not this. But if you ask me if the penalty is too light, I say yes.

"I think it was not a penalty. It was very low. If you consider that basically, we will improve a bit less than one second over the season in terms of aero, you get the penalty of 10% of this, it's one-tenth. And as it's not a linear progression, it's probably less, and you are allowed to spend this money somewhere else. But it means that for me the penalty is marginal," added Vasseur.


Ferrari—and essentially every other F1 team—has been unsuccessful in matching the pace of the Red Bull cars in 2023 so far. While Aston Martin and Mercedes have shown enough speed to step on the podium, Ferrari's only positive takeaway has been a strong qualifying pace. Despite Vasseur's comments about the squad doing a "good job" in Australia, Leclerc has had two DNFs in three races and Sainz is massively down on points.

Vasseur also referenced the latest gossip circulating the paddock: Red Bull's "super DRS." The team boss believes Ferrari's got to figure out what's going on so it can improve its own cars.

"They have a mega big DRS effect, bigger than everybody else," he noted. "We have to understand how they're able to do something like this. I think it was probably even more obvious last year, but we compensated part of the gap. But we have still to improve on this."

Sky Sports F1 Ted Kravitz has said that Red Bull's super DRS nets them up to three-tenths of a second per lap, but that it doesn't equate to the team's massive advantage over its competitors. Either way, it's yet to be seen how the rest of the season unfolds, especially as some of the more chaotic races of the calendar begin to surface (Baku).

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