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F1 news: Red Bull breach 'minor' as Lewis Hamilton makes FIA demand after delay confirmed – Express

Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen
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The FIA are due to conclude their investigation into cost cap breaches on Monday, with Red Bull star Max Verstappen‘s 2021 world title potentially under threat. A points deduction would allow Lewis Hamilton to steal in and clinch a record-breaking eighth crown, which he initially lost in a dramatic Abu Dhabi shootout that sent shockwaves through the F1 community. 
A £114million cost cap was introduced last season to improve the sport’s financial sustainability and increase competition between the 10 teams. Recent reports suggest that Red Bull and Aston Martin went over the limit, sparking an angry reaction from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. 
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner insists that their finances are above board and has hit back at Wolff for making ‘unfounded’ claims. If the team are deemed to have significantly exceeded the cut-off, they could be handed a points deduction for last season which would controversially see Verstappen stripped of his maiden world title. 
With a final decision from the FIA now expected on Monday, Express Sport brings you all the latest F1 news below.
DON’T MISS: Ferrari should have ‘broken their computer’ over FIA fiasco at Singapore Grand Prix
Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has backed up Lewis Hamilton’s view on the cost cap controversy that has dominated the discourse in F1 before the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Sky Sports pundit believes that if a team has exceeded the £114m spending cap, they will have gained an advantage and repeated Hamilton’s idea that there should be transparency from the FIA.
“Maybe someone has over spent and we all know, if that is the case we always know there’s going to be an advantage from that,” he told Sky Sports News.
Sebastian Vettel has called on his fellow F1 drivers and teams to trust the FIA to “do their job” and accept the consequences if it is proved that their team has breached the budget cap from the 2021 season. The announcement has been delayed until Monday, October 10, leaving teams such as Red Bull and Aston Martin sweating over their fate.
But Vettel, a four-time world champion who has garnered a reputation for being on the right side of moral and political issues, believes any team that has fallen foul of the regulations must face the consequences.
“We try to be fair most of the time and I think that’s the same of the governance of the sport, to ensure fairness across the sport,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“We have to trust them to do their job and if you don’t apply with the rules, there should be consequences.”
In the midst of their political war away from the track, Red Bull have pulled off a coup by signing Nyck de Vries to a contract to 2023 with AlphaTauri.
The Dutchman, 27, is currently Mercedes’ reserve driver but the Silver Arrows hold no control over his future.
And after weeks of talks with special advisor Helmut Marko, the 2019 F2 champion has secured a drive for next season with their sister team, with an announcement due in the coming days.
Read the full story here.
Ferrari’s racing director Laurent Mekies says it could be “game over” for the cost cap in F1 if the teams do not pass the test of adhering to regulations. 
“It is a very vital test for the cost cap,” Mekies said in Singapore. “And, as we said, if we don’t pass that test, it’s probably game over, because the implications are huge.
“Should we talk about penalties now? Probably not. I know it’s probably what the people in the grandstands want to see and we respect that. But in fact we are much earlier in the process than that.
“Probably an even more key aspect of it is, is there a breach? Do we agree on the entity of the breach and that, as a result, confirm the rule everybody is obeying?
“So, I think what is very much crucial now is that the FIA fully enforce rules as they are written now. And then after the penalties are a different matter.”
Sebastian Vettel refused to shut down the possibility of him returning to Formula One as a temporary stand-in at the Japanese Grand Prix in the future.
The four-time world champion will walk away from F1 at the end of this season after two seasons with Aston Martin.
But the German, 35, said in Suzuka: “Never say never. It is a great track for many, many reasons, and yeah, who knows what the future brings.
“Obviously I love driving and I think around this track I always felt very alive and the passion felt or feels very alive. Maybe if one of these guys in the future races feels a bit sick.
“I don’t know – I don’t wish them to feel so – but I wouldn’t mind jumping back in for a race at Suzuka at any time.”
Lewis Hamilton has appeared to confirm he will remain in F1 beyond the end of his current Mercedes deal. The seven-time champion’s current deal is due to expire at the end of the 2023 season but the Briton has said he is going nowhere.
Speaking ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton explained: “I know what I want to do – I plan on staying longer. It’s just not set in stone how long. I plan on staying with Mercedes for the rest of my life, that’s a definite.
“It’s more figuring out what we are going to do down the line, even beyond racing I want to be building with Mercedes and there is a lot that Mercedes can do, it’s not just a car manufacturer.
“It provides so many jobs for so many people and it has such a powerful platform to really shift narratives and it has a place where it can have a really positive impact on the environment – there’s loads of things that we can do together and I want to be a part of that.
“I want to be part of that shift and work process with Mercedes far beyond races and championships, but for now it’s to win world championships and that’s the immediate focus.”

Max Verstappen has been asked about Lewis Hamilton’s comments to Sky Sports earlier today. Hamilton suggested Red Bull had far more upgrades than Mercedes last season.
The Brit said: “What I can say is I remember last year in Silverstone we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it. But then we would see Red Bull every weekend or every other weekend bringing upgrades.
“They had, I think, at least four more upgrades from that point. If we spent 300,000 on a new floor, or adapted a wing, it would have changed the outcome of the championship naturally because we would have been in better competition in the next race if you add it on.
“So I hope that that’s not the case.” And asked about those quotes, Verstappen responded: “It’s something between the team and the FIA and it’s not really up to me. I’m here to drive fast and try to give the best result to the team.
“I think we have our reasons to believe that we are good. So that’s what I’ve been told and we’ll find out on Monday.”
Max Verstappen’s response.. u2b07 pic.twitter.com/lx6UfwCEWi
Fernando Alonso says he trusts the FIA to get it right – with the Spaniard’s new team Aston Martin potentially facing punishment for allegedly breaching their budget cap.
“It’s always a difficult topic from our side,” Alonso, currently at Alpine, said. “As a driver’s point of view I think is not really relevant here and we rely on our teams to really control everything they do.
“But I guess we all expect the FIA to police as good as possible all these things because we want to race in a fair environment.
“But it is a very difficult topic because there is a lot of things that we need to make sure they are controlled. The budget cap is one thing but there are many teams with different structures, with different things, with their own circuits, in their own factories.
“You know, things that we need to control – a lot. So it has to be really well done.”
Daniel Ricciardo has been tipped to take up a role at Mercedes as a reserve driver next season – and the Aussie was again asked about his future today.
“Keen on resolving it? I wouldn’t say there is a problem. I am just taking time to figure out what will be the best thing for me,” Ricciardo told journalists ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
“There is no rush. I feel no pressure to quickly sign something. I want to take the right amount of time. I won’t just sign the first contract to be back on the grid.
“I’ll keep going with the season and it will become clear what is best for me. There’s nothing you don’t know! Full transparency.”
Max Verstappen was coy when asked about the FIA’s investigation into Red Bull’s alleged cost cap breaches in Suzuka earlier today.
The Dutchman said only: “To be honest, I’m not really busy with these kind of things. It’s up to the teams and the FIA and I just need to focus on the driving.
“There’s not much more to say on that. We’ll find out on Monday, I guess.”

Hamilton added: “It’s not something I haven’t been thinking about, 2021 during this season. I don’t know enough about it, obviously there’s whispers about all these different things. I can’t say anything really, 
But what I can say is last year in Silverstone we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it. But then we would see Red Bull every weekend, or every other weekend, bringing upgrades.
“They had I think at least four more upgrades from that point. If we had spent £300,000 on a new floor or adapted wing it would have changed the outcome of the championship naturally.
“We would have been in better competition at the next race. I hope that’s not the case.”
Lewis Hamilton has demanded “transparency” in F1 as teams await the findings of the FIA’s investigation into the apparent budget cap breaches.
He told Sky Sports: “I do believe that Mohammed [Ben Sulayem] and the FIA would do what is right with whatever they find out. That’s what we have to have faith in.
“I think transparency is very important, particularly with all the fans that tune in and travel around the world and the thousands of people working [in F1]. It’s important to have transparency throughout the organisation.
“Accountability is something we always have to hold true to. We’ve seen in previous years of the sport, things have been dealt with in the background. I don’t think that’s the way forward with the new way of working with Mohammed.
“I think integrity is very important to him. As it is for F1 nowadays with the new management. We have good people in place and I hope we get the right governance.”

Sky Sports report that there have been no major breaches of the Formula One budget cap – with question marks over Red Bull and how severe any rule break would be.
A small breach would mean Red Bull and Max Verstappen will not face any major punishment for last season or this season such as being disqualified from a championship.
Sky Sports News claim only “minor” breaches of the cap have been made, which only amount to an overspend of less than five per cent.
Still, the potential sanctions facing teams may include the deduction of Constructors’ Championship and Drivers’ Championship points and a suspension from one or more races.
Perhaps more likely for minor infractions is a fine or limitations on the team’s ability to conduct testing for 2023, or even a reduction in their overall cost cap in the future.
Red Bull fans may be slightly concerned with the prospect of waiting another five days, particularly if they are found to be in breach of cost cap regulations.
According to BBC Sport reporter Jennie Gow, any infringement would be penalised in the year it happened.
In this instance, that would suggest that if – and only if – a breach occurred, Red Bull could face some form of points deduction as the season has already been and gone.
Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber thinks the rivalry between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner from the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been reginited by the budget cap row.
“Well, is it Abu Dhabi sort of popping back up again?” Webber said on Channel 4.
“We know what was at stake last year, don’t we? And the fine margins [by which] that championship was won and lost.
“So yes, opposition teams are getting on their horse and having a red-hot crack that there might be something here. The FIA, it’s up to them now to back up Christian’s comments because he says they are barking up the wrong tree.”
Away from the budget cap news, former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore has suggested the FIA needs to change after a spate of recent controversies.
“In every race we have a problem. It can ruin not only the race, but also the spectacle and the world championship. The FIA ​​is a company and to get ahead it must make use of the right people,” he said.
“It has almost 200 employees and companies of this type must be led by capable managers in all sectors. At the moment there is no such quality.”
“The FIA ​​must be managed by professionals, it is fundamental. The important thing is that there is a federation that is worthy of F1. Why didn’t this happen before? Because there were professionals. Simple”
Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has never been one to mince his words and the German has taken aim at Mercedes supremo Toto Wolff for acting like a “sore loser”.
“No matter what comes out: for me, Toto Wolff, with his harsh criticism, is rather the sore loser who has not yet digested the fact that he lost the 2021 World Championship,” Schumacher told Sky Germany. “I think that’s a shame.
“What is clear, however, is that the cost cap must be adhered to. If that wasn’t the case, then of course there must be a penalty.
“The basic structure has definitely been shaken. The FIA has to investigate itself, because it must not and cannot happen that something slips out.
“What is happening here is only damaging Formula 1 and only the world governing body itself can be to blame.”
Before the announcement from the FIA that the decision would be delayed, Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton spoke about the importance of teams adhering to the cost cap regulations.
“I’m proud of my team for the diligence that they’ve done to run to the rules,” said Hamilton at the Singapore Grand Prix.
“And I honestly have full confidence in [FIA president] Mohammed [Ben Sulayem] in the way that he’s conducted himself to this point and in terms of being strict and being clear with the rules.”
“The rules are rules and for those sort of things, which can lead to real alterations in terms of car performance, those sorts of things, we definitely have to take it seriously. But as I said, I don’t know if it’s true or not so we’ll see.”
Lewis Hamilton
The FIA also sought to reassure F1 fans that there had been no leakage of information or a decision already made, calling those claims “baseless”.
It continued: “As previously communicated, there has been significant and unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture in relation to this matter, and the FIA reiterates that until it is finalised, no further information will be provided.
“The FIA also reiterates that any suggestion that FIA personnel have disclosed sensitive information is equally baseless.”
The FIA have released a statement confirming a delay in publishing the outcome of their probe into cost cap breaches in 2021.
It reads: “The FIA informs that the conclusion of the analysis of the 2021 financial submissions of the Formula 1 teams and the subsequent release of Certificates of Compliance to the Financial Regulations will not take place on Wednesday, 5 October.
“The analysis of financial submissions is a long and complex process that is ongoing and will be concluded to enable the release of the Certificates on Monday, 10 October.
“The Financial Regulations were agreed unanimously by all Competitors, who have worked positively and collaboratively with the FIA Cost Cap Administration throughout this first year under the Financial Regulations.”
The FIA have confirmed they have pushed back the date of their findings on the cost cap investigation and an announcement will not be made until October 10.
More follows…
The FIA were supposed to be releasing their findings today, so what is the hold up, you might be asking?
As we reported yesterday, F1’s governing body are reluctant to act quickly and are instead ‘biding their time’ due to the sensitivity of the investigation. They are not prepared to succumb to pressure from teams and set a concrete deadline.
What’s more, the complexity of the rules and different accounting methods used by teams must be taken into account. 
With this in mind, it remains possible the FIA could even push back the date of when they make their information available beyond today, leaving Verstappen and Hamilton in the dark over their status as world champions.
Hopefully, we will hear something today. Stay with us to see if that is the case.
If Red Bull are hit with a heavy punishment, the Constructors’ Championship leaders cannot say they weren’t warned.
Back in 2019, when laying out plans to implement the cost cap in time for 2022, F1’s chief technical officer and managing director Ross Brawn warned teams that they would face losing their grasp on the championship if they had been found to have been in breach of the regulations.
“Financial regulations are the dramatic change in F1,” Brawn said in the official reveal at an FIA press conference in Austin, Texas.
“We’ve tried for these in the past, and we’ve not been successful. I think the crucial thing about the financial regulations now is that they are part of the FIA regulations. So the sanctions for breaching financial regulations will be sporting penalties of some sort, depending on the severity of the breach.
“Whereas before we had the resource restriction, which was a gentlemen’s agreement between teams – well there’s not many gentlemen in the paddock I’m afraid, and that was a failure.
“But this has teeth. If you fraudulently breach the financial regulations, you will be losing your championship. So it has serious consequences if teams breach these regulations.”
Former F1 star and current Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle weighed in on the cost cap debate by insisiting that the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, along with Red Bull, were sure to be guilty of ‘gaming’ the system to some extent. 
“There are so many things outside of that cost cap, I’d imagine trying to balance Ferrari and all they’ve got initially versus Red Bull, in an industrial estate in Milton Keynes, the logistics, McLaren have a massive facility,” he said.
“It’s a hugely complex area to balance for the teams. I would be absolutely sure that they’re all gaming the system to an extent, they’re all playing the game to make it work where they can heighten costs.”
There has still been no official word from the FIA regarding their investigation into budget cap infringements. 
According to BBC Sport journalist Andrew Benson, some sources suggest that they would be surprised to hear an official verdict at any point this week. 
Others, meanwhile, have heard nothing about a further delay, suggesting that the original timeline remains in place and a conclusion should be released at some point today. 
At around 10am this morning, the FIA said it would provide an update ‘regarding timelines for the financial regulations compliance process in next couple of hours’. 
Max Verstappen himself recently spoke out about the allegations against Red Bull and claimed that he was unfazed by the prospect of losing his world title. 
The Dutchman pointed out that most of the complaints were coming from England and rival teams firing shots in Red Bull’s direction couldn’t have had all the information. 
“What I hear from the team is that everything went correctly,” he said. “It’s not irritating for me. I don’t value it. I know where it comes from and which people are complaining about it.
“Especially in England, yes… I have no fear of it. It is other teams that talk, while they cannot have all the information.”
Max Verstappen
While we wait for official confirmation of the documents leaked on social media, it seems as though notions of a minor breach from the Red Bull camp had been seen coming by many. 
Sky Sports pundit Ted Kravitz recently put the rumours down to ‘mischief making’ and was not expecting any big surprises from the investigation. 
“I’m hearing that the hot air, the noise in Singapore about several teams, two teams who had in a small way broken the cost cap which is effectively breaking Formula 1 rules and in a big way breaking Formula 1’s cost cap, has been watered down somewhat,” he said.
“I wonder if there was a bit of mischief making, something between the ongoing soap opera saga between Mercedes and Red Bull.”
A document shared by F1i, via journalist Alexandre Braeckman on social media suggests that Christian Horner was telling the truth. Red Bull are supposedly set to receive a negligible fine for a minor budget breach of around £100,000. That means no points deductions and Max Verstappen’s 2021 world title stands. 
As for Aston Martin, they were allegedly found to have breached the budget cap by a staggering £4million, which has seen them hit by a 100-point penalty, split over last season and the current campaign. 
More to follow…
Sky Sports’ Craig Slater has discussed the state of play regarding the FIA’s investigation, when fans can expect to learn an outcome and what they expect to emerge from it. 
“Today is the day that teams are due to get their certificates [by meeting the budget cap]. Those haven’t come in yet but teams say they haven’t been informed by the FIA of any delay to the certification. We do expect to find out who has, but more significantly who hasn’t fulfilled the cost cap requirements [today]. 
“My understanding is that, if there were any breaches of the cost cap, they were only minor breaches which would trigger only minor punishments.”
Despite rumours that Red Bull had overshot the budget cap by as much as £10million, team principal Christian Horner remains adamant that their finances are in line with regulations. 
“We’re absolutely confident in our submission,” he said. “Our audit was signed off by our auditors. We believe we are comfortably within the cap.
“It was totally unacceptable to make a completely unfounded allegation and on the basis of what knowledge? Where is this source of information?
“It was a confidential submission between the team and the FIA. I have no idea of the compliance of any of our rivals. So where does that information supposedly come from?”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insists that one team significantly breaching the cost cap is an ‘open secret’ in the paddock. 
“It’s been weeks and months [Red Bull] are being investigated, so maybe [Christian Horner] doesn’t speak to his CFO,” he added. 
“As a matter of fact, all of us have been investigated diligently. As far as we understand, there’s a team in minor breach which is more procedural, and another team that is fundamentally, massively over and that is being still looked at. So that’s an open secret in the paddock.”
Toto Wolff
F1’s first-ever cost cap was introduced last season at £114million, with the intention of bringing it down incrementally over the following few years. 
The limit applies to money spent on car developments and performance, theoretically giving smaller teams a chance to compete with the grid’s heavyweights. 
Red Bull are alleged to have breached the limit by as much as £10m, which could come with serious repercussions. Other reports place their overspend at the £1m mark, however, which is unlikely to see Max Verstappen’s world title stripped. 
Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the FIA’s investigation into alleged spending breaches last season. 
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen could both be affected by the outcome if Red Bull are judged to have massively overstepped the mark. 
Stay stuned for all the twists and turns that are to come…
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