“I think it’s absolutely necessary to punish transparency,” said seven-time world champion Hamilton, who was defeated by Verstappen in the world title battle in the final round of the final race last season. The 37-year-old Briton confirms he does not know if the teams have actually broken the rules. “I am happy our team is very strict anyway. It would be bad for the sport if no action is taken if there is a violation.”
His Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff, had previously spoken about the matter. “This cost cap is one of the most important rules that have been introduced to create a fairer playing field. It is very important that these rules be adhered to,” said Wolff, head of Red Bull Team Christian Horner, who described the allegations as ‘defamatory’.
Violations of the financial rules are subject to penalties ranging in severity from a fine or points deduction to a worst-case exclusion from Formula 1. The FIA was supposed to publish the results of the investigation this week, but that was moved to Monday. “I was expecting the results to come in on Wednesday. I just hope it’s late because they’re taking it so seriously,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton’s team mate George Russell said Mercedes “would have done more if they had more money to spend”. According to him, the teams that spent more should make up for that season later. “And perhaps there is something more than that as punishment,” said the Briton.
Russell awaits the results before entering into accusatory statements. “You have to have a certain amount of confidence or you will revolutionize everything that exists in the racing world,” said Russell. “We want to be treated fairly when we race others. We want to be able to rely on the rules.”
The Japanese Grand Prix will be held this weekend. Verstappen could win his second world title at Suzuka. The Dutchman did not respond to a comment on the budget issue on Thursday. “I don’t deal with these kinds of things. I’ll leave it to the teams to find out.”
Verstappen: ‘Don’t bother with these kinds of things’
Max Verstappen was also questioned in the run-up to the Japan Grand Prix: “To be honest, I’m not really busy with these kinds of things,” the Dutchman reacted in the same way he answered questions about his upcoming world title. “It’s up to the FIA and I’m just focused on racing. There’s not much to say and I assume we’ll know more on Monday.”
“What I hear from my team is that we have done nothing wrong,” Verstappen confirmed. “I don’t wake up with a hangover anyway, on Mondays.” Not literally from the party when he becomes a hero. “I’m just going home. It will be a completely different version than last year.”
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