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Red Bull budget scandal: Is Verstappen’s title at risk?

Following the shocking revelations that Red Bull may have exceeded the budget cap in 2021, is Max Verstappen in danger of being stripped of his title?

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Formula 1’s return to Singapore following a three-year hiatus has brought revelations that the Red Bull F1 team may have exceeded the budget cap, by as much as $10 million during the 2021 season.

While the rules surrounding budget infringements are vague, the question arises if Max Verstappen could be stripped of his title.

Irrespective of Verstappen’s fate, the alleged breach could have severe ramifications for the Red Bull team, with the touted figure exceeding the cap by as much as 6.8%, which in a sport ruled by fractions of a second is a significant violation.

In fact, former Williams F1 driver Alexander Wurz believes that the infraction is the equivalent of an oversized engine.

“If there is evidence that Red Bull deliberately exceeded the budget, it’s like an oversized engine or an illegal wing,” Wurz said on ORF.

What does the FIA say?

Following the accusation, the FIA put out a statement regarding the affair, though it avoided any specifics stating that it would deal with the matter by following a formal process.

“The FIA is currently finalising the assessment of the 2021 financial data submitted by all Formula 1 teams,” the statement reads.

“Alleged breaches of the Financial Regulations, if any, will be dealt with according to the formal process set out in the regulations.

“The FIA notes significant and unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture in relation to this matter, and reiterates that the assessment is ongoing and due process will be followed without consideration to any external discussion.”

Marko believes the allegation has damaged Red Bull’s reputation

Austrian talent spotter and Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko believes that the accusation has damaged Red Bull’s reputation and claims should only be made once a thorough audit has been carried out.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after the start of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix | REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

“It’s damaging to our reputation,” Marko said on Sky.

“It’s amazing when such things become public in an ongoing process that has not yet been clarified.

“We have a wide variety of companies. We have Red Bull Advanced Technology, we have Red Bull Technology, Red Bull Powertrains. And you have to separate everything very clearly.”

Will Verstappen be stripped of the title?

The short answer is no. A violation by the team usually sees them being docked points in the Constructors’ Championship or as in the case with McLaren in 2007, disqualification from the championship standings altogether.

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