Following the Japanese Grand Prix , the FIA announced that its audit into last year’s budget cap found that Red Bull had exceeded the $145 million cap set for that season.
The FIA considered that Red Bull was responsible for a ‘minor infringement’, which is within 5% of the global budget limit, and that it would study its next steps.
Red Bull has always adamantly denied going over the budget cap, but is now in talks with the FIA over a possible ‘Accepted Infringement Settlement’ to resolve the case.
Verstappen won his second F1 world championship in Japan two weeks ago, but denied the situation surrounding Red Bull and the budget cap breach affected the team.
“It’s something between the team and the FIA anyway, isn’t it?” Verstappen said in Austin on Thursday. “And for our part, we have the firm conviction that we abide by the rules.”
“So that’s why we’re discussing it, to show what we think is right. But at the end of the day, it’s not up to me. I just focus on track performance.”
The FIA is rumored to have concluded that Red Bull would have been over the budget cap by around $1.8m, in areas such as the allocation of sick pay and the cost of catering at its factory and at circuits.
Several senior officials in the F1 paddock have called on the FIA to take tough action if it finds that Red Bull has breached the budget cap, underlining its importance of protecting the integrity of financial regulations in the future.
McLaren boss Zak Brown wrote to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem last week calling for strict action, saying overspending “constitutes cheating”.
Lewis Hamilton – who narrowly lost the 2021 title to Verstappen – was initially cautious on the issue, but then said it was important that some steps be taken to deter teams from overspending in the future.
Asked if it bothers him that everyone is talking about the budget cap, Max Verstappen replied: “It just depends on what you read.”
“For me, I think what we’ve achieved this year is incredible. And on the budget cap, yes, they’re talking about it now, but as I’ve said before, we think we’re right, and of course we’ll always believe in our cause and We will prove it to the FIA.”
“Now it’s up to them, of course, to make a decision. Then the issue will go away again.”
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