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RB19's advantage proof that budget penalty was too light


Ferrari's Frederic Vasseur says that the clear superiority of the Red Bull is proof that the penalty meted out to the Austrian team for exceeding the budget cap was "too light".

Better late than never, while Toto Wolff and Zak Brown made their feelings clear at the time, Ferrari's Frederic Vasseur has waited until three races into the new season before opining that the FIA got it wrong.

For breaking the cap, the Austrian team was fined $7m while also having its aerodynamic testing time allowance reduced by 10%.

The $7m a drop in the ocean for the world champions, it was the reduction in aero testing that rivals hoped wold really hurt Red Bull, especially as this was in addition to the reduction the team was facing as a result of the handicap system introduced in 2021.

Under the system, Red Bull was entitled to 70% of the agreed baseline this year, however, with the 10% penalty this becomes 63% compared to Ferrari's 75% and Mercedes 80%. Williams, on the other hand, which finished tenth last season, is allowed 115%.

From the outset, the Austrian team made it clear that in order to minimise the impact of the reduction it would need to be strong straight out of the box as it would be later in the season that the penalty would really begin to hurt. However, after just three races it is clear that by the time the pain begins Red Bull will most likely have wrapped things up.

"It was not a penalty," insists Frederic Vasseur. "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," he continued. "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."

Asked if he thinks the team has done a pretty good job, or the penalty was simply too light, he admitted: "Both, they did a good job. I am still convinced that the penalty was very light.

"If you consider the rate of development that we have during the season, if you consider the fact that if you have a 10% balance at the end, it's not something linear, you are also putting the performance.

"Then that you can spend what you are saving on the wind tunnel, you can spend it somewhere else on the weight saving and so on. I'm not sure that the effect is mega. And if you consider that you have an advantage at the beginning of the season because you spent more the year before.

"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.

"I am not trying to find an excuse at all. It's not this," insisted. "But if you ask me if the penalty is too light, I say yes."

Like rival teams, Vasseur is particularly impressed by the effectiveness of the RB19's DRS.

"They have a mega big DRS effect, bigger than everybody else," he said. "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."

Whereas Ferrari is strong on single lap pace, but lacking on race pace, the RB19 shows its true superiority come Sunday.

"It's true that on the first three events - and first we need to understand that three events is not the complete panel of the tracks - we always had the feeling that we are not far away and able to fight for the first row with them in qualifying, and it was more difficult in the race

"Perhaps at least on the numbers that we are able to analyse, the advantage in the race in Melbourne was much lower, and I think this is also coming from the capacity of the driver, to drive the car at the limit with different levels of fuel, different tyres, and so on.

"If you have a car be too peaky, perhaps you can manage the situation in qualifying for one lap with new tyres. You know the balance after five sets of soft tyres in qualifying. But all over the race, it's probably a bit more difficult. And we took a little bit this direction over the last couple of weeks."


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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 10/04/2023 21:21

"It was kf course a pointless & ineffectual non-penalty. However it was in response to breaking an ineffectual & pointless rule.

The simple fact is that RBR's car for the Ground Effect era is vastly superior and as in season development diminishes, is likely to remain so until 2026.

Sour grades from Ferrari. If they don't like this game which they once dominated they should simply leave "

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2. Posted by Max Noble, 08/04/2023 12:22

"@Editor - heck this is all going to go totally “Pet cemetery” if we do not stop typing… Ok. Me no type now… Bad things happen…."

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3. Posted by Editor, 08/04/2023 12:15

"@ Stefano Domenicali and Ross Brawn if he's still hanging about

Please note that the previous post was a joke, tongue in cheek, and any ideas contained therein should not be taken seriously.

@ Max Noble

Seriously mate, don't give them ideas."

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4. Posted by Max Noble, 08/04/2023 10:28

"Oh come on. The FIA should have banned Adrian Newey for life. Fined Red Bull 9 Billion Dollars. Made it illegal for V. Max to have more than two wheels on his car. Halved the Red Bull fuel allowance, and only award Red Bull half points for any points position finish for the next decade. Then they should double the wind tunnel time for Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston. Then remove the cost cap from McLaren for a decade so they can get to a car that actually works. Oh, and then get the Sand People from Star Wars to shoot at Red Bull cars as they drive street circuits. That should do it…"

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5. Posted by Chester, 08/04/2023 4:58

"Focus on your own car Vasseur. Red Bull DRS superiority is Adrian Newey not an infinitesimal budget overage in 2022. "

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6. Posted by KKK, 07/04/2023 16:29

"What the FIA should have done is give RB a points penalty, say 200 points. To give them the wind tunnel penalty was not even a slap on the wrist. I bet they are still laughing at the penalty now. To be honest, F1 has been ruined by all the petty changes to "spice up" the show. Why they didnt ban all the "flip ups" and bendy wings is beyond comprehension. Reduce wing sizes and restrict the shape. Make the cars really difficult to drive. Hey presto, you would have offs all the time, and thats what Liberty Media have always wanted. "

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7. Posted by rambler, 07/04/2023 13:25

"Most of RB19 desgn would have been completed before the penalty was applied. It will be next years car that will be impacted. Again this was a failure of the FIA management. The teams should have to send in monthly accounts. Penalty's applied when the overspend is discovered. Not 10 months into the following season.
The other problem with this affair was that the actual amount of the overspend. Due to the non disclosure agreement was the published amount the actual amount? The published amount came after weeks, months of negotiation between RB and the FIA. The FIA should have been open about the amount its the cover up that haunts the other teams and fans."

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8. Posted by Max Noble, 07/04/2023 10:54

"Be so careful what you wish for… when you get your penalty you will be moaning it is too severe. They got a sensible level of penalty for a minor infraction of an arbitrary accounting rule. And their car is simply still better than yours… Sorry. Your brain is smaller and there we go…"

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