Did Red Bull Cheat? The team is one of the most successful and competitive teams in Formula One history. They have won six consecutive constructors’ and drivers’ championships from 2010 to 2013 and 2021 to 2022. The team has been praised for its innovation, creativity and ambition. On the other side they have also faced criticism, envy and suspicion from its rivals.
There have been several incidents where the Red Bull F1 team has been accused of cheating. Some of the accusations have has a foundation of truth. In other incidents the accusations were for technical modifications to the cars that stretched the rules to the limits.
Did Red Bull Cheat? Have they ever been caught cheating or breaking the rules to gain an unfair advantage? Find out here.
Did Red Bull Cheat – The Flexible Wing Controversy – 2010-2011
In 2010 and 2011, Red Bull was involved in a controversy over its flexible front and rear wings. They appeared to bend downwards at high speed, reducing drag and increasing downforce.
Red Bull’s rivals argued that the wings breached the rules on movable aerodynamic devices. These are banned in Formula One.
The FIA conducted several tests on the wings. They found that they complied with the technical regulations and did not move excessively under load. However, the FIA also introduced new tests and stricter limits on wing flexibility throughout the seasons. This forced Red Bull and other teams to modify their designs.
Red Bull maintained that its wings were legal and innovative, and that they had passed all the FIA tests. Red Bull also accused its rivals of being jealous and hypocritical.
Did Red Bull Cheat – The Engine Mapping Saga – 2012
In 2012, Red Bull was involved in another controversy over its engine mapping. This is the software that controls the engine’s performance.
Other teams accused Red Bull of using a special engine map that altered the torque curve of the engine. It allowed it to produce more exhaust gas at low throttle, which enhanced the effect of the blown diffuser. This i, a device that used exhaust gas to generate more downforce.
Red Bull’s rivals argued that the engine map breached the rules on engine torque and throttle position. These rules were introduced to limit the use of blown diffusers.
The FIA examined the engine map and found that it did not comply with the technical regulations. It did not match the one submitted by Renault, Red Bull’s engine supplier.
The FIA ordered Red Bull to change its engine map before the race at Hockenheim. However it did not impose any penalty on the team. That is because it could not prove that Red Bull had gained an unfair advantage or broken any sporting rules.
Red Bull complied with the FIA’s order. They maintained thatthere was ni wrongdoing and said that its engine map was legal and innovative.
Did Red Bull Cheat – The Tire Test Controversy – 2013
In 2013, Red Bull involveded themselves in the same tire test controversy as Mercedes – LINK . Red Bull was one of the teams that protested against Mercedes’ tire test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix, where Mercedes had used its current car and drivers.
The team argued that Mercedes had breached the sporting regulations and gained an unfair advantage. They achieved thus by conducting a secret tire test without informing or inviting other teams. Red Bull also questioned Pirelli’s role and impartiality as the sole tire supplier of Formula One.
The FIA launched an investigation into the matter and summoned Mercedes and Pirelli to a hearing at the International Tribunal in Paris on June 20, 2013. The Tribunal found Mercedes guilty of breaching the sporting regulations by conducting the test without the consent of all the teams.
The Tribunal imposed a reprimand on Mercedes and Pirelli, and banned Mercedes from participating in the young drivers’ test later that year.
Did Red Bull Cheat – The Cost Cap Breach (2021)
In 2021 the FIA found Red Bull guilty of breaching Formula One’s cost cap by the FIA, along with its sister team AlphaTauri.
The FIA introduced the cost cap in 2021 to limit teams’ spending to $145m per year, excluding certain items such as driver salaries and marketing costs.
Red Bull exceeded the cost cap during 2021. The overspend as less than 5%, and the FIA considered it a minor breach by the FIA. The FIA did not reveal by how much Red Bull exceeded the cap or how it did so.
The FIA said it was “currently determining appropriate action” and that it could impose various penalties on Red Bull, such as a reprimand, a points deduction, a testing ban or a cap reduction.
Red Bull said in a statement that it noted the FIA’s findings “with surprise and disappointment” and that it needed to “carefully review the FIA’s findings, as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost-cap amount”.
The speculation and accusations the other teams made “shocked” Red Bull. They “respectfully followed” the process under the regulations while considering “all the options available to us”.