The Singapore Grand Prix paddock has been awash with buzz and rumors that two teams breached last year’s $145 million spending limit.
Although there will be no confirmation on this until next Wednesday, when the FIA announces the results of its financial audit on the 2021 course, the teams have openly suggested that one of the teams involved is Red Bull (the other, Aston Martin).
Milton Keynes have strenuously denied overspending, with team principal Christian Horner saying he was willing to consider legal action against Mercedes and Ferrari if they did not withdraw what he said were “defamatory” comments.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes that threat is actually ‘smoke’, saying the F1 paddock was simply waiting for a final answer, which will come on Wednesday.
But Max Verstappen, who is about to win his second world championship (something he could do this Sunday in Singapore), commented with a certain sarcasm that he was not surprised by the attitude of his rivals.
Asked by Motorsport.com if it was frustrating for his team to be at the center of rumours, Verstappen said: “I know where it’s coming from, so…”
Asked if he was confident there would be no problems, the Dutchman added: “Well, from what I hear from the team, yes.”
“Of course, then other teams start talking about it while they don’t have information and that seems a little silly to me. Just keep your mouth shut.”
Wolff, for his part, was unfazed by Horner’s threats of a possible lawsuit against Mercedes, saying he was absolutely confident the FIA would handle the process correctly.
“It’s just smoke,” he explained. “In the end, there is a process on Wednesday. There will be certificates of compliance that will be issued or not. And then if someone has not complied, there is a process and a governance formula that is in place.”
“I am 100% sure that the FIA is going to do the right thing. So everything else is just talk. And then, for us, it is important that the cost limit is met. It is a cornerstone of the new regulations, and I hope all the teams have done it.”
Asked if there was a risk that the cost cap would be undermined if the penalties were not strictly enforced, Wolff said: “I have no reason to doubt that the FIA is not going to be 100% severe in following its own way of governing and their own regulations, because they know how important it is in the future”.
“We are all aware that the regulations, whether they are technical or sporting, and now the economic ones, have to be regulated and policed in the right way. I have 100% confidence in the process and in the FIA. And that is why everything else is noise”.
Do you want to read our news before anyone else and for free? Follow us here on our Telegram channel and you won’t miss a thing. All the information, at your fingertips!