Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1 budget cap’s future depends on Red Bull punishment


Lewis Hamilton claims that Red Bull’s response to violating the Formula 1 budget limit last year will determine the cap’s future.

According to the regulating body, the FIA, Red Bull broke the $145 million (£114 million) threshold last year in a “minor” way.

“If they ease these regulations, all the teams will simply cross,” Hamilton added.

“It won’t be nice for the sport to spend millions more and simply get a smack on the wrist.”

“They may as well not have a cost limit in the future,” he said.

Red Bull has been presented with a proposal from the FIA outlining the parameters of an “acceptable breach agreement” if they violate the expense limit.

The offer, the specifics of which are secret, explains the punishment the FIA would impose should Red Bull admit to exceeding the quota.

Red Bull, who still maintains that they were inside the limit is 2021, has the option of recognizing that they were in violation and absorbing the penalty or contesting the ruling.

If they oppose it, a panel of impartial financial law specialists will adjudicate the case to determine if Red Bull violated the agreement and what punishment to inflict.

After the FIA’s race director misapplied the regulations during a safety-car period during the season’s final race, Hamilton lost a close title battle against Max Verstappen of Red Bull in 2021.

When asked about his thoughts on the FIA’s statement and the appropriate punishment for Red Bull, Hamilton said, “Hopefully, the integrity of the sport will be where the judgments are decided.

“I have to trust that Mohammed [ben Sulayem, head of the FIA] and his staff will make the correct choices. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. What they [Red Bull] have done is done,” he said.

Since announcing last week that they felt they were inside the quota in a statement, Red Bull has not publicly commented on the situation.

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Red Bull Racing’s board of directors is debating how to respond to the FIA’s offer, and team leader Christian Horner is anticipated to announce in the open on Friday at the US Grand Prix.

“It is between the team and the FIA, and from our side we have a strong feeling that we were in it, so that’s why we are debating it with them to prove what we believe is correct,” Verstappen said at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin on Thursday.

Fernando Alonso of Alpine, who lost two close championship races to Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull while driving for Ferrari in 2010 and 2012, said: “This has always been part of F1. The cost cap is a new thing we implemented recently, but there were always things aerodynamically that you could explore some grey areas.

“And those who won the championships always did so by taking advantage of that gray area. Then, the other teams imitate them until they reach that level or outlaw the practice permitted for one or two races.”

Alonso also compared the predicament of Red Bull to the uproar over Ferrari’s engine performance in 2019.

The FIA agreed on a private settlement with the Italian team, whose engine performance declined noticeably for the 2020 season.

After that season, the FIA said they suspected Ferrari’s engine was not always run in accordance with the regulations but could not prove it.

Ferrari won at least two races in 2019 using illegal tactics, as we all knew, and nothing occurred, according to Alonso. These victories were retained. It’s very incredible. Imagine they used that engine to win the title in 2019. Because of how challenging it is, we must put our faith in and depend on those in positions of authority.

In a May 2018 interview Mattia Binotto, a member of the Ferrari crew, stated: “What we were doing at the time was stretching the line of interpretations. But it wasn’t against the law, or we would have lost.


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