We're not joking. Catering put Red Bull over the FIA's budget cap.
It takes money and lots of it. The FIA introduced cost caps last year to keep big-budget teams and the little guys on more or less the same level. It has released findings showing that two teams were over the cost cap. Aston Martin fell into what the FIA called a "procedural breach," which likely means they filed the paperwork a little late.
But we're here to talk about how Red Bull managed to exceed it. If you ask the FIA, the team's catering budget is part of that. It appears someone ordered a few too many lobster rolls during last year's championship celebrations. That, combined with some other factors, has put the team over the line, says the FIA.
Per the FIA's report, Red Bull committed two breaches of the 2021 cost caps, one Procedural Breach and one "Minor Financial Overspend," amounting to less than 5% of the cost cap. That puts the sum somewhere south of $7 million. The amount is unknown, meaning the overspent can be between $100 and $7 million.
Jokes aside, it wasn't lobster rolls or championship celebrations that set Red Bull over.
Instead, it was much more kindhearted: free lunches for the team's 1,000+ staff members at the company's Milton Keynes headquarters. In addition to catering costs, the report found that costs associated with absent staff also contributed to the breach. Perhaps this explains some of Red Bull's apparent anger over the findings.
The company's statement said it was surprised and disappointed by the FIA's findings.
Right now, the team is considering what options it has in regard to a response. Adding fuel to the fire, the FIA only released its findings, not punishments for Red Bull or Aston. Both teams will have to wait for that. However, Williams was fined $25,000 for a procedural breach. Red Bull insists that it did not violate cost caps, and its statement above suggests that RBR is considering appealing to the FIA.