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F1 qualifying LIVE: Max Verstappen avoids penalty and keeps pole for Japanese GP – The Independent

Follow all the reaction after the FIA revealed that Red Bull have not complied with last year’s budget of $145m (£114m)
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Red Bull have been found guilty of a “minor overspend breach” of Formula 1’s cost-cap regulations for 2021 with their punishment yet to be deterimned.
The team spent more than the £114m budget limit but the breach was not over the 5% threshold which would have resulted in a “major breach” category and as such the penalty they incure is not likely to result in Max Verstappen losing the 2021 World Championship. Alongside Red Bull, Aston Martin have also been given a procedural breach.
A statement read: “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.
“Procedural Breaches can result in Financial Penalties and/or Minor Sporting Penalties (in case of aggravating factors) as detailed in the Financial Regulation. Minor Overspend breach (<5% Cost Cap) can result in Financial Penalties and/or Minor Sporting Penalties.”
In response, Red Bull issued a statement in which they said they were “surprised and disappointed” by the findings. Sanctions available to the FIA for a breach range from a reprimand, to financial penalties, to the deduction of drivers’ points, and even exclusion from last year’s championship, won by Verstappen in thrilling fashion against Lewis Hamilton.
Monday’s announcement from the FIA found that Red Bull were the only team to go over the budget cap in the 2021 season – the same year Max Verstappen controversially won the driver’s championship.
The sport’s governing body found that Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Alpine, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas had all complied with the rule, Aston Martin were guilty of a procedural breach whilst Red Bull breached the procedural and minor overspend limits.
Red Bull now face a penalty – still to be determined by the FIA and have the option to appeal against the findings. This is what could happen to the team:
Minor breach = overspend of less than 5%. Penalties could be:
– Deduction of Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship points
– Suspension form one of more stages of a competition
– Limitations on ability to conduct aerodynamic or other testing
– Reduction of the cost cap
Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 Drivers Championship by eight points
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expects a change to the rules on awarding full points in races that have not gone the distance after Max Verstappen was crowned world champion in confusing circumstances following Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Verstappen took the chequered flag at a rain-soaked Suzuka, with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez promoted to second after Ferarri’s Charles Leclerc was handed a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage on the final lap.
However, because the race had ended when the time limit expired and not when the full number of laps had been completed, confusion reigned as to how many points would be awarded.
The majority of the pit lane, including Verstappen and Red Bull, believed half-points would be given as the race had not passed 75 per cent distance – but the regulations state that, as the grand prix had been resumed following a delay of over two hours due to rain, full points would be given.
That left Verstappen with a second world championship – even if Horner did not know it at the time – and the team principal now believes the rules, introduced following farcical scenes at last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, will once again be looked at.
I’m certain it will be,” he said when asked if teams would speak to the FIA, F1’s governing body, to revise the regulation.
“We were confused and we thought it would not have been the full awards (of points). So initially, our calculations were such that he was not world champion.
“I think it’s a mistake that wasn’t included after the issues in Spa last year, that the regulations obviously haven’t been mopped up.
“We were under the strong impression that only with 75 per cent of the race, full points will be scored. So we felt we were going to be one point short.
The majority of the pit lane, including Verstappen and Red Bull, believed half-points would be given
Pierre Gasly’s frightening near-miss with a recovery truck on Sunday, amid a dangerously damp start to the Japanese Grand Prix, was an incident unlike many others seen in Formula One recently.
Zhou Guanyu’s upside-down flip at Silverstone in July shows that, despite safety advancements such as the life-saving halo, some accidents are still simply a freak of nature. Take Romain Grosjean’s fiery miracle in Bahrain two years ago, too.
But sometimes F1 does not aid its own battle for safety and at Suzuka, the Frenchman and the sport as a whole fortuitously got away with one. The self-inducing controversy continues to swirl.
While comparisons were naturally drawn to Jules Bianchi’s tragic accident on the same track in the same conditions eight years ago – which led to F1’s last racing fatality – the use of recovery vehicles in races is a topic the sport has failed to adequately solve for some time. In fact, it has been a point of contention for at least 15 years. Warnings have not been heeded.
At the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, a torrential downpour early in the race resulted in seven cars aquaplaning off the racetrack in a matter of seconds at the first corner.
The last of these cars, Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Toro Rosso, rapidly launched itself off the circuit, lightly tapping a truck deployed erratically quickly to recover other stricken cars, such as then-rookie Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren.
Formula One was fortuitous in avoiding its darkest day at Suzuka – yet the issue of recovery trucks was raised by Martin Brundle way back in 1998
A deduction in Drivers’ or Constructors’ Championship points for the 2021 season are among the punishments that Red Bull could face after being found guilty of breaching the Formula 1 budget cap.
The FIA announced on Monday that Red Bull had overspent last year, exceeding the $145m (£114m) limit for the season. The overspend was termed “minor”, which means Red Bull’s exceeded the cap by less than 5%, which equates to $7.25m.
The team, along with Aston Martin, were also found to have committed a procedural breach. Both manufacturers can appeal the finding, with Red Bull noting that they received the FIA’s ruling with “surprise and disappointment”.
“Our 2021 submission was below the cost-cap limit, so we need to carefully review the FIA’s findings, as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost-cap amount,” a statement from Red Bull said.
“Despite the conjecture and positioning of others, there is of course a process under the regulations with the FIA which we will respectfully follow while we consider all the options available to us.”
More below:
Red Bull exceeded the $145m (£114m) cap by less than 5% (up to $7.25m)
Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher has labelled Toto Wolff a “sore loser” after the Mercedes team principal criticised Red Bull for potentially breaking the budget cap. Wolff hit out at his rivals at the recent Singapore F1 after reports described how Christian Horner’s team broke the cap last year.
The 2021 season saw a controversial end with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen’s snatching the world championship from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the last few laps. Wolff’s comments has signalled to Schumacher that the team boss is not over the outcome of the season.
“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.”
Wolff had said rumours surrounding Red Bull’s budget “has been going for a while that they [Red Bull] are over, and a lot over”.
Red Bull have denied reports they broke the budget cap
Mattia Binotto, team principal at Ferrari, fears that Formula 1’s “credibility is at stake” with the budget cap row. Red Bull were found to have overspent in Monday’s FIA findings with their punishment yet to be determined.
The sport’s financial regulations define a minor breach as one less than 5% of the cap, set at $145m (£114m) in 2021, and a material one as more than that. But Binotto is certain that even a minor breach should be taken seriously.
“It’s definitely a shame that we are talking about it in October of the following season, because at this point, apart from implications on last year’s championship, there are also implications for the current one,” the Ferrari team principal told Sky Italia.
“Let’s wait until Wednesday before making a judgement but, whatever amount we are talking about, it’s important to understand that even if it is four million, which falls into the category of what is considered a minor breach, four million is not minor.”
The FIA will issue certificates of budget cap compliance on Wednesday 5 October
Christian Horner said he was “very confident” in Red Bull’s submission – as the team celebrated Verstappen’s second world title following a bizarre end to a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday – before the FIA’s findings on Monday.
“We’ve been shocked at the speculation and accusations that have been made by other teams.,” Horner told BBC Radio 4. “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.”
Sanctions available to the FIA for a breach ranged from a reprimand, to financial penalties, to the deduction of drivers’ points, and even exclusion from the championship.
Red Bull added in their statement after the results were published: “We need to carefully review the FIA’s findings as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost cap amount.
“Despite the conjecture and positioning of others, there is of course a process under the regulations with the FIA which we will respectfully follow while we consider all the options available to us.”
Red Bull have been found guilty of a “minor overspend breach” of F1’s cost-cap regulations for 2021 with their punishment yet to be determined – though a fine is the most likely outcome.
The team spent more than the £114m cost cap but with the breach not over the 5% “major breach” threshold of £5.7m, the penalty is not likely to result in Max Verstappen losing last year’s World Championship due to a loss of 2021 points.
Red Bull said in a statement that they are “surprised and disappointed” with the findings, insisting that there “2021 submission was below the cost cap limit.”
The FIA also confirmed that Aston Martin “is considered to be in procedural breach of the financial regulations,” with Red Bull also in “procedural breach.” Williams had previously been found in “procedural breach”, which has since been remediated – the team paid a $25,000 fine
An FIA statement read: “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.”
The FIA revealed that Red Bull have not complied with last year’s budget of $145million (£114m)
Martin Brundle insists F1’s budget cap rules need “tightening up” in the wake of Red Bull’s “minor financial breach” as revealed on Monday.
Red Bull, who have won last year’s and this year’s Drivers Championship with Max Verstappen, say they’re “surprised and disappointed” after the FIA found they were guilty of an overspend of the 2021 cost cap.
Their punishment is yet to be determined, with the options ranging from a fine to points deductions. Aston Martin were also found guilty of a procedural breach, as were Red Bull. Yet Sky Sports pundit and ex-F1 driver Brundle believes the 5% overspend margin – when a breach goes from minor to major – is still too much and the rules need to be “rigid.”
“What seems crazy to me is that a minor breach can be up to 5% overspend on the cost cap at 7 million,” he said on Sky’s Any Driven Monday show.
“We know that’s a massive upgrade on a car, maybe even a B-spec for some teams. So that needs tightening up for starters, because what’s the point in having 140 million, whatever the number ends up being, and then having this five percent variance?
“So I’m assuming that the FIA will have to crack down hard on any minor breaches, but it looks like it could be a reprimand or a fine, will they want to revisit points, will it be manufacturers points or drivers points for 2021?”
Red Bull were found guilty of a ‘minor financial breach’ but Brundle says the 5% overspend margin is too high
The father of Jules Bianchi led criticism of a frightening incident involving Pierre Gasly at the Japanese Grand Prix after the driver passed a tractor on track just seconds after the the race was red-flagged due to heavy rain.
The scary moment in which Gasly passed the vehicle at speed and in low visibility brought up memories of the fatal crash involving the Frenchman’s compatriot Bianchi in 2014, which also occured at the Japanese Grand Prix, and raises serious questions for Formula One.
Bianchi’s father, Philippe, criticised the incident on social media and commented: “No respect for the life of the driver no respect for Jules memory”. With the race red-flagged, the McLaren driver Lando Norris tweeted: “How’s this happened!? We lost a life in this situation years ago. We risk our lives, especially in conditions like this. Unacceptable.”
Amid wet conditions and standing water at Suzuka, a chaotic opening lap saw both Carlos Sainz and Alex Albon crash out. The impact of Sainz hitting the barrier forced a piece to rebound back on track and hit Gasly’s car, forcing the Frenchman to pit for a new front nose.
Once Gasly returned to the track in 18th place, the conditions had got worse and the race was red-flagged, with all remaining cars returning to the pits. But as Gasly caught up at the back of the field, the AlphaTauri driver was shocked to see a recovery vehicle driving on the track in the opposite direction.
“What the… what the, what is this tractor doing here,” an incredulous Gasly said after passing the vehicle. Gasly claimed he could have “killed” himself after the near-miss, which brought back memories of Bianchi’s death in Suzuka eight years ago.
The frightening incident brought up unfortunate memories of the fatal crash involving Jules Bianchi in 2014
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