Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing may spend up to $1.8 million on repairs for Max Verstappen’s car after his harrowing clash with Lewis Hamilton. The two made contact coming into Copse corner at Silverstone, during the British Grand Prix on Sunday, July 18.
Verstappen and Hamilton’s Crash At Silverstone
Verstappen and Hamilton were neck and neck through a series of corners. When Verstappen went around the outside of Hamilton into Copse, the Mercedes tagged the Red Bull’s rear left wheel. That spun Verstappen across the gravel into the tire barrier at 180 mph. Verstappen climbed out of the car, into the hospital, and therefore out of the race. Hamilton received a 10-second penalty, which he served in the pit lane, and went on to win the race.
Verstappen hit the wall under 51Gs of force. As a result, the right half of his RB16 car was completely destroyed from the carbon fiber to the suspension. Christian Horner, team principal at Red Bull Racing, estimates Red Bull Racing may spend around $1.8 million. However, Red Bull Racing could potentially save the Honda engine.
Red Bull Racing’s Cost Cap Concerns
$1.8 million was barely a fix-it ticket for a team like Red Bull in previous seasons. However, 2021 introduced a $145 million cost cap for the season, excluding marketing or salaries. This elevates that $1.8 million figure as a more significant number. Rescuing the Honda engine could save Red Bull approximately $18 million, according to F1 Chief Technical Director Pat Symonds, in an interview he gave with Motorsport Magazine.
Red Bull Racing’s Cost Breakdown
From pictures, the damage to Verstappen’s car was contained to the exterior carbon fiber, suspension, and wings. Symonds stipulates the carbon fiber monocoque chassis costs $707,000, while the front and rear wings, combined with the DRS, could cost $291,500.
Red Bull will almost certainly need to replace or repair the car’s hydraulic system, judging by the pictures from the aftermath. According to Symonds, hydraulics control nine subsystems of the car, including brake-by-wire, the gearbox, turbo wastegate, and the clutch, and others. Replacing the system could cost $170,000.
Should Red Bull Racing Pay?
A controversy surrounding this incident is if whether or not the FIA should count the repair costs towards Red Bull Racing’s budget, since the Stewards deemed the crash Hamilton’s fault. Regardless, Red Bull wants harsher punishment for Hamilton but needs more evidence first in order to mount an appeal.
The $1.8 million figure is just an estimate. However, a real number gives a better idea of what impact this crash had on Red Bull Racing’s budget and championship. Given the complexities of this generation’s power unit, the engine is the most expensive part of the car. However, if Red Bull Racing can save $18 million from having to replace the engine, its championship fight continues without threat to the budget.