The FIA has been completing its investigation into the spending of each of the teams from the 2021 season in recent months, judging whether all of them complied with the limit of 145 million dollars [about 128 million euros at the time in the which was established]. However, during the weekend of the Singapore Grand Prix, there was speculation that two teams, Red Bull and Aston Martin, would have exceeded that budget ceiling, although both have flatly denied the accusations.
The international federation was supposed to issue the certificates of compliance to the teams that had complied with the cost limit last Wednesday, before the Japanese Grand Prix, but that day they announced that they were delaying the presentation of the documents until the Monday after Suzuka.
Speaking at Australia’s Bathurst circuit on Friday, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said he was unsure why the governing body had postponed issuing the certificates, but stressed the need for any potential infringements be treated the same as any other rule violation.
“I don’t know more than anyone else,” said the American. “The certificates were due on Wednesday, and now they have been postponed to Monday, which means that for some reason they are not ready.”
“You can, based on rumours, assume that one or two teams have not complied, but I am not aware that this is the case,” said the head of the McLaren project in motorsport. “The budget limit is very important, and we have to make sure that it is applied, and if someone breaks it, that they are sanctioned, not only financially, but also sportingly and technically.”
“If the technical or sporting rules are broken, penalties are imposed, and the budgetary ones should be the same,” Brown defended. “Because if someone has overspent, that gives them an unfair advantage on the track, and they have to be dealt with firmly and quickly accordingly.”
According to the financial regulations of the FIA, any team that exceeds the budget ceiling by less than 5% , about 7 million dollars in 2021 [7.15 million euros at current exchange rates], is considered a minor violation , with penalties ranging from a public warning to a point deduction.
However, an infraction that exceeds 5% is considered serious , and can be sanctioned with exclusion from the world championship, deduction of points or reduction of the same limit or in the aerodynamic tests in the following years.
Red Bull said it was “absolutely confident” they had stayed within budget, and said it was considering taking action on “defamatory” allegations over the weekend in Singapore. Ferrari and Mercedes were clear on the need to penalize if the non-compliance was confirmed, even those from Maranello assured that a minor infraction could mean up to half a second per lap in the performance of the car.
On the Thursday before the Japanese Grand Prix, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who had been battling Max Verstappen until the last race of the world championships, explained that his hopes of winning in 2021 were held back by those financial constraints, suggesting he did not win his eighth title to meet the rules.
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