Max Verstappen has responded to widespread calls for Red Bull to be served a harsh penalty for breaching Formula 1’s 2021 cost cap.
The Dutchman arrived in Austin, Texas ahead of the 2022 US Grand Prix as the newly crowned world champion, having sealed his second title in confusing circumstances, but the talk of the town remains his team’s overspend in the first year of the sport’s new financial regulations.
Red Bull admitted they were “surprised and disappointed” by the FIA’s findings that they committed a “minor” breach and have maintained their innocence, but that hasn’t stopped representatives from rival teams calling for a strong deterrent to ensure the integrity of the cost cap remains intact.
Verstappen, however, sees this as nothing more than an attempt to slow the Milton Keynes-based outfit down, as they march towards a first championship double since 2013.
“Nothing has been confirmed yet but as a team we know what we have to deal with and we are very clear with what we think is correct,” Verstappen said on Thursday at the Circuit of the Americas.
“It’s still ongoing and at the end of the day it’s not my job – it’s between the team and the FIA.
“I think it’s mainly because we’re doing well. They try to slow us down in any way possible. That’s how Formula 1 works. Everyone is at the end of the day a bit hypocritical.”
Will Red Bull enter into an ABA with the FIA?
Rumours remain rife around the paddock as to how the FIA will handle the ongoing saga. It’s being reported the governing body is in talks with Red Bull about entering into an Accepted Breach Agreement (ABA), which would effectively be an admission of guilt, but would also likely reduce the severity of the sanction.
If this can’t be agreed, the case will go to the Cost Cap Adjudication Panel and the whole array of punishments will be on the table.
Among others, Lewis Hamilton said he hopes the FIA sets a strong precedent, admitting that teams won’t respect the financial regulations if overspending only incurs a “slap on the wrist”.
“I do think the sport needs to do something about this,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “Otherwise, if it’s quite relaxed, if they’re relaxed with these rules, then all the teams will just go over.
“And spending millions more and then only having a slap on the wrist is obviously not going to be great for the sport. They might as well not have a cost cap for the future [in that case].”