SPO_221028 REDBULL1-1666977007048
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico signs an autograph during the Formula One Mexico Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack in Mexico City on Friday. Image Credit: AP

Mexico City: Red Bull have been fined $7 million for breaking Formula One’s budget rules but will not have points deducted from their 2021 total, the sport’s governing body said Friday.

Red Bull will also be penalised with a 10 per cent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research.

The FIA confirmed the team, which carried Max Verstappen to a contentious championship victory over Lewis Hamilton last year, overspent by £1.86 million ($2.15 million) in 2021.

The 10 per cent cut is in the time they can spend using their wind tunnel or computational fluid dynamics to design their car.

The punishment comes after Red Bull acknowledged they were at fault and entered into a so-called “accepted breach agreement” with the FIA.

Sergio Perez walked into the Formula One paddock on Thursday and was quickly surrounded by adoring fans so hopeful he’ll become the first Mexican to win on his home track.

The reception was nothing like the one he received earlier this week when the Red Bull driver did a demonstration run in Guadalajara in front of “about 140,000 people, so for Mexico, not that much.”

Emotional memory

Perez called it an emotional memory that will stick with him forever.

What would bump it down a notch on his list of accomplishments? A victory on Sunday in the Mexico City Grand Prix. Perez finished a career-best third at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez a year ago and was celebrated as if he’d won the actual race.

“Of course, I want to win this weekend, that is my target,” Perez said. “But it has already been such a special week for me taking the Red Bull Showrun to my hometown, it’s a memory that will live with me forever. I don’t want to stop there with creating moments this week though, my aim is to win my home Grand Prix and I know I have the car and the team to do it.

SPO_221028 REDBULL-1666977009907
Red Bull's Max Verstappen steers through a turn during the final practice session for Mexico Grand Prix. Image Credit: AP

“I will give 100 per cent to win for these fans in Mexico.”

Only problem? His teammate, two-time F1 champion Verstappen, has no intention of allowing Perez to take the chequered flag.

Verstappen, who clinched his second consecutive title earlier this month and then led Red Bull to the constructor’s championship last week, is seeking a 14th victory on Sunday that would break the record for wins in a season he shares with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

Spoiling the homecoming

Verstappen has won seven of the last eight races, a streak stopped only by Perez himself with a win in Singapore earlier this month. It gives Red Bull an eight-race winning streak and Verstappen isn’t hiding that he wants to keep winning and doesn’t much care if it spoils his teammates homecoming.

“I am here to win,” Verstappen said on Thursday. “I want to win like every race we enter, and we have an opportunity to win more. As a team we just want to have a good weekend.”

But the final three races are important for Perez, who heads into Sunday trailing Charles Leclerc of Ferrari by only two points for second in the standings. It gives Red Bull a chance to go 1-2 in the final standings of a season it has totally dominated.

“He knows what he has to do to finish a second, he has to finish ahead of Charles,” Verstappen said. “As a team, we always try to be first and second and as a driver, I want to win more races.”

The overspending saga has been exhausting as Red Bull boss Christian Horner, who was not at the track on Thursday, has vehemently argued the team did not truly breach the regulations.

“It’s just a bit frustrating, from our side we feel we are not wrong, just some things taken into the budget cap that were not expected,” Verstappen said in advance of the penalty. “We’ll have to deal with it.”