Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull’s alleged cost cap breach “would have changed the outcome of the Championship” in 2021.
Formula 1 has arrived at the iconic Suzuka Circuit for the first time in three years against the backdrop of ongoing cost cap talks.
Results of FIA findings on whether or not manufacturers fell under $145m [£114m] cap was supposed to be released on October 5, but that has now been delayed by five days.
The budget lapses range from point penalties for overshooting less than 5%, to possible “ejection from the championship” if the numbers exceed 5%.
The Singapore Grand Prix saw a confrontational back and forth between Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner via the media, with Wolff claiming the matter is a ‘heavyweight issue’ and Horner threatening legal action legal proceedings for “defamatory” statements.
The problem should have been solved before the Japanese Grand Prix, but with the date now pushed back, the questions arise again, with Lewis Hamilton now having his say.
“It’s not something I think about in 2021, I don’t know enough, there are all these whispers,” he told the media.
“What I can say is I remember last year at Silverstone we had our last upgrade and luckily it was great and we could fight with it.
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“But then we would see Red Bull every weekend or every other weekend make improvements. They had, I think, at least four more upgrades from then on.
“If we had spent £300,000 on a new floor or fitted a wing, that naturally would have changed the outcome of the championship as we would have been in better competition in the next race if you added it.
“So, I hope that’s not the case. I believe Muhammad [Ben Sulayem, FIA president] and the FIA will do the right thing with whatever they find out, so that’s what we have to trust.”
Hamilton ultimately lost the 2021 championship to Verstappen in a final round in Abu Dhabi last year, the first season the cost cap came into effect.
Wolff said any advantage gained last year will have ramifications in the previous two campaigns, and Hamilton has now asked for transparency on that.
“1000%, transparency is always very important,” he said. “Especially with all the fans connecting and traveling around the world.
“I think it’s important for all of us, plus all the people who work, the thousands who work in the sport, I think it’s important to have transparency throughout the organisation.
“And responsibility is something we must always stick to. We’ve seen in previous years of the sport where things have been dealt with in the background, I don’t think that’s the new way to go with the new way of working with Mohammed.
“I think integrity is very important to him and like it is in F1 these days with new management, so I think we’ve got the right people in place. Hopefully we’ll have the right one. governance.
Reigning world champion Verstappen, who is set to win his second title at Suzuka, was also asked about the rumors and said it did not concern him.
“It should have been already, right?” he said of the postponement of the report.
“I think we have our reasons to believe we are good, that’s what I’ve been told and we’ll find out on Monday.
“It’s also something between the team and the FIA, it’s not really up to me, I’m here to drive fast and try to give the best result to the team.