Red Bull proving cost cap penalty too lenient – Ferrari
By Ian Parkes
Saturday 8th April, 2023 - 1:00am
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur believes Red Bull is proving the cost cap penalty imposed last year was too lenient in light of the “good job” it has done so far this season.
Alongside a US$7million fine for breaching the first year of the cap in 2021, Red Bull was also hit with a 10 percent reduction in its aerodynamic testing allowance that came into force with immediate effect when the sanctions were announced in October last year.
Yet on the back of winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships last season, Red Bull has widened the gap to its rivals at the start of this season.
It has comfortably scored pole positions and gone on to win all three races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, displaying a straight-line speed, in particular when the DRS is open, that has amazed its rivals. Meredes team boss Toto Wolff described it as “mind-boggling”.
“I think it was not a penalty,” said Vasseur, speaking to invited media, including Speedcafe. “The penalty was very low, if you consider that basically we will improve a bit less than one second in terms of aero.
“You get a 10 percent penalty, so it’s one tenth (of a second), and as it’s not a linear progression, it’s probably less (than that).
“And you are allowed to spend this money somewhere else, so for me the penalty is marginal.”
Red Bull DRS effect “mega big” – Ferrari
Asked whether Red Bull had at least done a good job or whether he genuinely felt the penalty was too lenient, Vasseur smiled and said: “Both! They’ve done a good job but I am still convinced the penalty was very light.
“If you consider the rate of development that we have during the season, and if you consider that if you have a 10 percent ban at the end, it’s not something linear, and then you can spend what you are saving somewhere else on weight saving and so on.
“I’m not sure 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, it’s compensation.
“But I do not want to say that they didn’t do a good job because I honestly think they did a very good job on the car.
“I am not trying to find excuses at all. It’s not this, but if you ask me if the penalty is too light, I say yes.”
Like Wolff, Vasseur is appreciably amazed with regard to what Red Bull has been able to achieve, most notably with its DRS, describing its effect as “mega big”
Vasseur knows it is an area where Ferrari has “to improve” if it is to close the considerable gap that currently exists.
Suggested to Vasser that Red Bull had seemingly “moved the goalposts again”, he replied: “I don’t think so. The difference was probably bigger last year.
“We were expecting to compensate a bit more, but the gap was bigger last year. Now, for sure, we have room for improvement in this area.
“They are doing something different, and something better, for sure – but we are on it”
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