F1 news: Max Verstappen set to avoid major penalty as FIA release Red Bull statement – Express

Red Bull are expected to learn their fate at some point on Monday
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faces the slim possibility of being stripped of last year’s Drivers’ Championship title if are found to have broken the rules by exceeding the strict budget cap. The Dutchman clinched this year’s end-of-season honours at Suzuka on Sunday but will be sweating over the FIA’s ongoing investigation into their finances in 2021, with the results set to be announced on Monday.
The FIA are currently in the final stages of looking into every team’s financial data from last season and it has been widely suggested that Red Bull and another team may have exceeded their spending limits. It remains to be seen how Red Bull would be punished if they are singled out by the FIA later today, with the range of penalties on the table depending on the severity of any financial breaches.
The regulations state that a ‘financial penalty and/or any minor sporting penalties’ may be awarded if a team is found to have exceeded the budget cap by up to five per cent of its value. Stronger punishments may be dished out in the event of breaches greater than five per cent, though, including race bans, points deductions and championship exclusions.
This means that Max Verstappen could theoretically be stripped of last year’s Drivers’ Championship title if Red Bull are found guilty of breaking the rules, although the feeling is that any offence is likely to fall into the lower bracket of less than five per cent. The 25-year-old will be desperately hoping that his remarkable achievement in 2021 will not be taken away from him by the FIA, who were initially set to announce their findings last Wednesday before delaying proceedings as they continue to work on the situation behind closed doors.
Follow Express Sport‘s live updates below.
It has been another momentous day in the world of Formula One amid the confirmation that Red Bull broke spending rules. 
Focus now turns to what punishment the team will receive so keep following Express Sport for all the reaction and turning points as the saga continues to unfold. 
For now though we are off to bed after what has been a hectic day. Thanks for following today with us. Good night! 
Red Bull will now wait for their official punishment to be handed down before deciding whether or not to follow through on their initial hints to appeal. 
Further sanctions can be applied if they are unsuccessful so the team will have to think hard about whether or not they believe an appeal to be worth it in the long-term. 
However, Mercedes and Ferrari will not have any chance of appeal should they disagree with the penalty handed out, meaning Toto Wolff will not be able to fight Lewis Hamilton’s corner in the likely event that the FIA hand out fines rather than sporting sanctions. 
The issue is therefore likely to continue to be a talking point for the next race events, as the controversy rumbles on.
The FIA are to be pushed by both Mercedes and Ferrari to inflict strict sanctions on Red Bull for their breach of the budget cap. 
The two teams are the drink manufacturer’s biggest rivals in Formula One and would stand to gain the most from any penalties. They have been among the harshest critics for breaking the financial regulations and Autosport report that they are pushing for tough punishment. 
Max Verstappen has now won the last two World Drivers Championships with Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc his closest competitors during that time. 
Formula One managing director Ross Brawn will be undermined if the FIA do not harshly clamp down on Red Bull’s spending breach. 
Comments from the Englishman have resurfaced from when the spending regulations were originally announced, claiming there would be ‘serious consequences’. 
He said: “If you fraudulently breach the financial regulations, you will be losing your championship. So it has serious consequences if teams breach these regulations. We’ve got a very strong team of financial experts within the FIA and within F1, and we’ve sought outside support on this.”
However, it appears highly unlikely Max Verstappen will lose his 2021 title over the rule flouting, something that does not correlate with Brawn’s original comments. 
Martin Brundle has encouraged the FIA to tighten the cost cap rules describing the 5% variance as ‘crazy’. 
“It’s crazy to me that a minor breach can be up to a 5% overspend on the cost cap,” he told Any Driven Monday. “That can be a massive upgrade on a car.
“That needs tightening up because what’s the point of having the cap if there can be this variance.” 
Although he also admits he is a fan of the cap in general despite his concerns. 
“I think it is fundamentally a good system and it is in it’s early stages,” he added. “I think it’s a cornerstone of why Formula One is so strong at the moment.” 
Veteran pundit Martin Brundle has said it is ‘thoroughly disappointing’ that the FIA are yet to give out punishment to Red Bull. 
“It very disappointing that information has not been supplied today,” he said on Sky show Any Driven Monday. “Remember we’re talking about the 2021 season, not this season so quite why they haven’t been able to get together why they know the details, presumably there is some squabbling going on behind the scenes. 
“It’s thoroughly disappointing that we now have an announcement of what’s happened but we don’t know the consequences.” 
Red Bull have reacted to the findings with ‘surprise and disappointment’ and confirmed they will ‘consider all the options available’ as they work out how to respond. 
There had been confidence within the team that they would be cleared of any wrongdoing but these hopes have been quashed by the FIA announcement. 
The FIA are now weighing up what punishment to hand Red Bull with a range of sporting and financial penalties at their disposal. 
In an official statement the sport’s governing body said: “The FIA Cost Cap Administration is currently determining the appropriate course of action to be taken under the Financial Regulations with respect to Aston Martin and Red Bull and further information will be communicated in compliance with the Regulations.” 
However, it is widely believed the FIA will pursue financial sanctions instead, meaning Verstappen’s first title should be safe
Red Bull, FIA
The FIA have confirmed that a procedural and minor spending breach has been made by Red Bull while Aston Martin are guilty of solely a procedural error. 
The drinks manufacturer are therefore the only team deemed to have gone over the cap of £114million however as a minor error it is within 5%. The FIA will now consider their next steps over any sanctions but they are not expected to stop Verstappen from keeping his maiden F1 crown. 
Red Bull have been found guilty of a minor financial breach according to the Daily Mail however this will not be enough to see Verstappen lose his 2021 title. 
The official announcement is said to be on the way at 4pm but it will not be specified how much the team went over. The punishment is yet to be specified but it is likely to be just a fine, stopping short of any points penalties.
No other team will be named to have overspent but Aston Martin are believed to have committed a procedural error.
Max Verstappen
Red Bull have made around £9m as a result of Pierre Gasly’s move to Alpine ahead of the FIA’s budget cap announcement later this afternoon.
The Frenchman was under contract with AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s sister team, until the summer of 2023 which meant that Alpine needed to agree a financial package to secure his services.
They were ultimately forced into paying a £9m fee to tempt Red Bull into letting Gasly leave, according to Sky Sports, with the 26-year-old set to race alongside childhood friend Esteban Ocon with his new team from next year onwards.
David Coulthard believes that Max Verstappen’s title win on Sunday was an anti-climactic end to this season’s battle for glory, with the Dutchman being awarded the honours after Charles Leclerc’s post-race penalty.
There was further confusion as to whether full points would be awarded as the race did not reach its complete distance, but it was eventually determined that maximum points would be dished out because the on-track action had restarted.
“I’m totally confused,” Coulthard told Channel 4. “Normally they [the stewards] take about three days to make a decision, so they must have flights booked out of Japan.
“It is a bit of an anti-climax in the moment, he [Verstappen] didn’t get to celebrate on his slowing down lap. But that said, thoroughly deserved, he was the man of the season and he had four more opportunities, as I said earlier, to go racing free in the fact that he is world champion again.”
We are still waiting to hear from the FIA regarding any potential breaches from Red Bull, who remain adamant that no wrongdoing took place over the course of last season.
The governing body is expected to announce the findings of its investigation into the financial data of all teams at some point in the late afternoon.
Penalties for breaching financial regulations can be severe, with point deductions and disqualifications among the options at the FIA’s disposal.
Take a closer look at what today’s announcement could mean for Red Bull here.
Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, believes that his son has the potential to dominate F1 for the next five years or more in a similar way to Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes before him.
“The rules will remain largely the same [over the coming years], the field will therefore come closer together and we will have better races,” said Jos, who was not at Suzuka to watch Verstappen clinch the Drivers’ Championship title over the weekend.
“But the strongest driver always floats to the top. If Red Bull continues like this, we will certainly have a nice five years.”
Away from the budget cap saga, Charles Leclerc has accepted the five-second time penalty that was given to him at yesterday’s Japanese Grand Prix that saw him dropped to third place.
The Ferrari man was deemed to have left the track to gain an advantage while battling with Sergio Perez on the final lap, with his demotion shortly after the chequered flag handing Max Verstappen this year’s Drivers’ Championship title.
“Well, I don’t have much to say, I did a mistake and tried to minimise it by trying to go straight,” said Leclerc. “I was not aware this was the last lap but the five-second penalty was the right thing to do, to be honest.”
Formula One managing director Ross Brawn previously insisted that any teams found to have broken the sport’s financial regulations will be subjected to ‘serious consequences’, including the possibility of championship exclusions.
“The penalties for breaking the financial regulations will be sporting penalties of different kinds, depending on the severity of the infringement,” said Brawn in 2019.
“Before we had the resource restriction, there was an gentleman’s agreement between teams. Well, there aren’t many gentlemen in the paddock, I’m afraid, and it was a failure.
“If you fraudulently breach the financial regulations, you will lose your championship. There will be serious consequences for the teams that break these regulations.
“How will we have control over expenses? We have a very strong team of financial experts within the FIA ​​and F1 and we sought external support. The new rules are essential for the well-being of F1.”
It seems as though the FIA are not planning to reveal their findings for a few hours yet…
Expecting #F1 budget cap news from the FIA late afternoon.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown wants to see any potential cost cap breaches dealt with harshly by the FIA, who are expected to reveal whether Red Bull went over last year’s budget limit later today.
“I don’t know more than anyone else other than the certificates were supposed to be distributed on Wednesday,” Brown told Crash.net.
“They’ve now been postponed to Monday, which means for some reason they’re not ready which you can, based on the speculation, assume a team or two haven’t complied. I don’t know that to be the case.
“The cost cap is critically important and we need to make sure it’s enforced if someone has breached that the appropriate penalties, not just financial, but specifically sporting and technical are put in place because if you bend the rules technically in sporting you get penalties and financial should be the same.”
“We’re very confident we’re within the cap and within those financial regulations,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told BBC Radio 4 earlier this morning.
“So we’ve been shocked at the speculation and accusations that have been made by other teams. We wait for the FIA to conclude their process and we wait to see what comes out.
“Anything other than compliance we’ll be extremely surprised at.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes that the FIA’s decision to delay their verdict regarding Red Bull’s adherence to last year’s salary cap suggests that a breach took place in spite of the Austrian team’s insistence that they did nothing wrong.
“It is interesting to see it is taking so long to issue it because it was due days ago,” said Binotto.
“Why we are simply waiting so long is certainly because there are discussions behind, which are giving truth to the fact that there are rumours and speculation about maybe teams having been in breach.
“I think it is simply confirming there are discussions because there is something not clear in there.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has suggested that Red Bull’s cost cap row could potentially be settled in court before insisting that he trusts the FIA to deal with the situation accordingly.
The 50-year-old has been pushing for Red Bull to be punished if they are found to be in the wrong and reportedly chose not to attend the Japanese Grand Prix in order to lobby his point.
“If it doesn’t come to the settlement agreement, because either the team doesn’t want to do it, or the FIA thinks it needs to go to the Cost Cap Adjudication Panel, then there is a group of judges, independent judges, that are going to look at the regulations and the case and come to a conclusion whether they should be penalised or not,” said Wolff, as reported by Formula1News.
“If the team is not happy with the outcome, then you can still go to the ICA and appeal there, so it’s a lengthy process, but I think super robust in terms of the governance. I have zero doubt that this is going to be handled in the right way and transparent, contrary to what we had in the past sometimes.
“Independent lawyers, maybe also judges, but people that have no involvement in Formula One, people that have been brought forward as top in their league.”

Toto Wolff has accused Red Bull of breaching last year's budget cap
The FIA should avoid stripping Max Verstappen of last year’s Drivers’ Championship title in order to avoid creating yet another farcical situation at the top of the sport, according to ex-F1 driver Paul di Resta.
He told Sky Sports F1: “Is this good for Formula One? No. Can you rewind the championship 10 months? I don’t believe that’s the right thing to do.
“You’ve got to move forward. You’ve got to have a hard and fast rule. Why in this day and age can we not get to the answer quicker that we all need?
“If it’s going to be a fine or money, well, they’ve got a surplus of money because of how well Formula One is doing at the moment. So then you go back to are we going to rewind the world championship result?”
Robert Reid, the FIA’s vice-president for sport, has hinted that Red Bull are likely to escape with a minor punishment if anything at all by playing down the saga that has surrounded their alleged cost cap breach over the last few days.
“I think the unfortunate thing for me is there’s been so much speculation, and wild speculation,” he told Autosport.
“That’s caused situations where potentially there’s even some reputational damage now, which is unfortunate. There’s been too much talk. Monday will come and go, and I’m sure we’ll quickly move on to the next year’s analysis, and we’ll see what comes.
“Personally, I actually don’t know the figures. It is a process, we do have a department who are doing that, they will come with various steps in the process.
“If there were to be any breaches, I think everybody knows what those breaches would be classified as in terms of procedural, minor and material.”
Hello and welcome to Express Sport‘s live coverage from the world of F1 as Red Bull wait to find out whether they will be punished for allegedly breaching last year’s budget cap.
The FIA are expected to announce their findings later today and we’ll be on hand to bring you all the latest updates as they happen.
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