Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 2021

Hamilton: 2021 title outcome would have changed ‘if we’d spent 300,000 more’

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says a minor budget cap infringement could have been enough to change the outcome of the 2021 world championship.

The FIA is preparing to issue certificates of compliance to Formula 1 teams which adhered to the $145 million spending cap, which was introduced for the first time last year. However it has postponed its anticipated announcement from Wednesday to Monday amid speculation more than one team may not have stayed within the limit.

Reports have suggested Red Bull, whose driver Max Verstappen beat Hamilton to the championship by eight points last year, may be found not to have complied with the cap. Its team principal Christian Horner has repeatedly insisted the data they submitted to the FIA showed they were within the spending limit.

However Hamilton says Red Bull brought more upgrades to their car in the second half of last season than Mercedes did. He believes the championship outcome would have been different had his team been able to spend more on their car.

“I remember last year in Silverstone we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it,” he told Sky. “But then we would see Red Bull every weekend or every other weekend bring in upgrades. They had, I think, at least four more upgrades from that point.

“If we had if we spent 300,000 on a new floor or an adapted wing it would have changed the outcome of the championship, naturally, because we would have been in better competition in the next race you had it on. So I hope that that’s not the case, for the sport.”

A “minor breach” of the financial regulation is defined as an over-spend of up to 5%, which was $7.25 million in 2021.

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Last year’s world championship ended in controversy when FIA F1 race director Michael Masi failed to follow the rules when arranging a last-lap restart in the final race of the season. The FIA, under president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, publicly admitted the error, replaced Masi in his role and made other changes to the management of races.

Hamilton said he has confidence Ben Sulayem will handle the budget cap controversy correctly and transparently. “I do believe that Mohammed and the FIA will do what is right with whatever they find out,” he said. “That’s what we have to have faith in.”

The FIA has been criticised for its handling of past controversies. In 2020, before Ben Sulayem replaced Jean Todt in charge of the federation, it reached a private agreement with Ferrari following an investigation into the legality of the team’s F1 power unit.

Transparency “is always very important,” said Hamilton. “Particularly with all the fans that tune in and travel around the world.

“It’s important for all of us, all the people that are working, the thousands of people that are working, I think it’s important to have transparency throughout the organisation and accountability is something that we always have to hold true to.

“We’ve seen in previous years of the sport where things have been dealt with in the background. I don’t think that’s the new way forward with the new way of working with Mohammed. I think integrity is very important to him as it is for F1 nowadays with the new management. So I think we have good people in place. I hope that we get the right governance.”

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2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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181 comments on “Hamilton: 2021 title outcome would have changed ‘if we’d spent 300,000 more’”

  1. We’ll, of course he will say that. If Red Bull did indeed cheat, I just hope justice is seen to be done – or it undermines all of what the FIA is trying to do to make the playing field more level.

    The biggest problem in the 2021 championship was the enforcement of the rules, and not just in the last race.

    1. The biggest problem in the 2021 championship was the enforcement of the rules, and not just in the last race.

      COTD !

    2. If so and talking about fairness, they should inform the teams what the deal is with Ferrari.

      1. Along with many other things from the past few years that are as transparent as a concrete wall.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th October 2022, 13:22

      Third-ed!

    4. The championship is a sham anyway so no point arguing. We all know who really win it last year

      1. Kimi, of course!!!

  2. Reports have suggested Red Bull, whose driver Max Verstappen beat Hamilton to the championship by eight points last year, may be found

    “Reports” that they “may be found”.

    No. Not reports. Rumors. There is a big difference between reports and rumors. There is also no cited source for those rumors. There simply is nothing, but journalism on the subject has been very poor and now some part of the F1 fan base is running with it. They have already made up their minds based on the lacklustre journalism and nothing will sway their opinion back even if nothing is found.

    1. No. Not reports. Rumors. There is a big difference between reports and rumors.

      To be fair. No. Not really. Report and rumour ‘can’ mean exactly the same thing. Like most of these things, it is very context dependant and of course I do not know the intent of the author, but given that it says “reports have suggested” I feel the context was fairly clear.

      1. @cairnsfella while true, the bigger issue here is that there is literally nothing but rumors without any kind of source attached to is, and everyone including the press is going off of that to make it into this huge story where even drivers are now being asked about and weighing in on some hypothetical situation that “in case the rumors are true, what would happen/how would you feel/…”.

        It should never have come this far or at least every article on the topic should be obligated to mention that it really is rumor and there is no credible source – nay, not even A source – that can be cited.

        Everyone can start rumors and when not validated, the press has a duty to handle it in a mature way. I do not feel this has happened. Hence why now a part of the fan base has already decided that definitely it has happened.

        1. Great comment

        2. The topic however provides an useful insight into which media to follow in the future and which not. The professional media havent mentioned anything but the date that the FIA is to communicate cap results. Some other media clearly have shown their hand as gossip tabloid and click bait environments. Very useful insight.

        3. Absolutely right, but it seems majority has already made up his mind about RB. Innocent unless proven quilty. Sorry for Max it’s not his fault and it takes away from his fabulous driving.

        4. @mattds very true, and I can’t say I disagree with any of this, nor do I think my previous response suggests otherwise.

    2. Especially when nothing is found. And that was exactly Mercedes intention!

    3. Well, even Marco did public interviews, stating there are different views between RBR and FIA abour whats inside and outside of the budget cap. And FIA stated to release their results of costcap checks.

      So reports may be found sounds like a reasonable wording to me.

      1. @romtrain Marko has come out and said they are confident in their submission. There are always going to be discussions about what belongs and what doesn’t belong. Heck I am independant so I have my own bookkeeping, and I run a small business that has its own bookkeeping, and even within this small and controlled context there are discussions about what is OK and what is not. So of course on a huge scale like F1 teams with budgets surpassing 100M dollar, there are going to be discussions too.

        It still is not an admission of guilt, nor is it proof. And it certainly does not elevate the “news” beyond rumor status.

        For the rest, I take bigger issue with how it’s being brought – read my above reply to cairnsfella for that.

        1. Still reports may be found is some appropriate wording.

          1. In the bigger context of things, and without any source being available or cited, it is junk. Argue all you want.

        2. Fully agree with @mattds

        3. I think it’s interesting that RB (Marko and Horner) use the phrase “we are confident in our submission”. I don’t interpret this as being confident that they didn’t breach budget cap. I expect the discussion is around the practice of imaginative accounting, and dare I say it, honest accounting.

          1. It was exactly my initial reaction to this sentence. Sounds like: “It looks proper to us, I think we cooked the books just right” :)

          2. @David Noble

            I think it’s interesting that RB (Marko and Horner) use the phrase “we are confident in our submission”. I don’t interpret this as being confident that they didn’t breach budget cap.

            Only, that is not the only phrase “they” use. If the press can’t provide proper facts, nuance and context, please let us do so.

            Horner has said, word for word:

            No, I mean, I’m absolutely confident in our submission. It’s been through a process. It went in in March, in terms of [being] signed off fully by our auditors who are obviously one of the big three. And we believe that we are comfortably within the cap.

            Emphasis mine.

    4. @mattds – Your right Rumours and trying everything to force a opinion (look at this site) it’s not done.

    5. Then again @mattds, another part of “the fanbase” is running around claiming that 1. it’s already confirmed nothing happened (based on one article that presented more or less the RB point of VIEW on this) and many Dutch fans even claiming that even a “minor” breach of up to 5 million would at the worst amount to a fine of maybe a million USD (based on clearly Max biassed dutch TV shows erroneously presenting this).

      Off course you are right that we don’t know the facts (and probably will only get them in the days following the FIA presenting their results, if ever). But every time the website does NOT mention those rumours at all, people start blaming it for “hiding” this and that. So I think it makes sense to report that there is indeed this rumour/claim doing the rounds in the paddock, clearly supported by the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, and informing us that so far this is only a rumour.

      I get why the FIA postponed releasing the information to a time when every journalist and team member will be somewhere in the middle of a 13h flight to keep it from muddling up the fun of possibly crowning a champion. But I am not sure it will work, because Regardless, I am sure the weekend coverage on TV will focus on this far too much.

      1. So I think it makes sense to report that there is indeed this rumour/claim doing the rounds in the paddock, clearly supported by the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes, and informing us that so far this is only a rumour.

        @bascb there is far too little nuance added about the status of these “reports”.

        We know nothing. Nobody knows anything.

        A large part of the fanbase were also adamant Red Bull had flexifloors, due in no small part to the fact that Mercedes were happily peddling that story. Enter the TD, Red Bull didn’t even change their floors and didn’t lose performance. But meanwhile, a again a large part of the fanbase will always remember from this year that Red Bull had flexifloors before the TD came in.

        It’s a sad state of affairs when rumors are just allowed to spread like that because not enough nuance is added.

        1. All post Trump phenomena. It’s terrible and people dont even understand they are being played.

        2. “We know nothing. Nobody knows anything.”

          The FIA know, and so do RB. And they both have done nothing meaningful to stop these reports or rumours. It would be quite simple for either or both to say RB were categorically in full compliance of the cost cap.

          1. Why? Because Toto launches a theory? The official announcement on any outcome is still due. People are jumping on the topic way too soon.

          2. @Mayrton – Can you provide facts that Toto launched a theory? I heard so many people speaking about it, and noone knows where the info came from. Obviously you do, or you just comment your disgusting hate against Toto everywhere.

          3. Just look at all the media articles the last few days. He is pretty vocal and makes accusations all over the place. Based on info he doesn’t have or shouldn’t have. It is a 100% copy of his flexi floors nonsense. A full investigation is needed into his antics. notwithstanding whether the claims are false or true.. He clearly and deliberately is undermining the regular process and discredits the FIA.

          4. Oh, and I don’t hate Toto. I just would like his wonderful personality to go elsewhere so we can get back to racing. The guy dominated an entire decade and at the hint of some competition he immediately showed he was in fact 4 years old all the time. Flexi wings, flexi floors, engine mappings, too fast pitstops. Seriously, for this guy to be quiet and satisfied he needs a racing category in which he is the only participant

          5. He said it’s an “open secret” that one team “fundamentally massively” overspent. Evidence: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/wolff-open-secret-one-f1-team-massively-broke-cost-cap/10376987/

            I cannot see any claims that the whole paddock knew this prior to Toto’s statement.

            If I was the FIA, I’d have Toto up in front of me asking where this information supposedly came from and why he felt it appropriate to talk about it to the press.

          6. @frogster

            The FIA know, and so do RB. And they both have done nothing meaningful to stop these reports or rumours. It would be quite simple for either or both to say RB were categorically in full compliance of the cost cap.

            The FIA and RBR have said and done exactly what they need to do when confronted with rumors.

            The FIA have come out and stated, not in the exact words but it boils down to it, that unfounded/baseless rumors are being spread.
            Horner and Marko have come out and stated that they are confident in their submission and that they were below the cap.

            What more do you want them to do? The FIA to release conclusions when they’re not 100% done yet? RBR to release their books when the average onlooker would have a hard time grasping a 100-line Excel with some autosums, let alone an entire bookkeeping of a 100M+ budget that one person needs months to go through?


            Exactly.

        3. And I’ll guarantee that if RB are adjudged to have done nothing wrong a certain fanbase will not believe the outcome and just say that RB overspent and bought the title.

          1. Which is exactly the situation Mercedes was aiming for from the beginning

      2. Psst I heard a rumour about Ferrari cheating with their fuel flow…
        and Mercedes cheating with rear wing last season.

    6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th October 2022, 13:29

      @mattds I agree to an extent but rumors in F1 are rarely that and we’ve seen too many names attached to it to just be an unfounded rumour. It’s going to be hard to prove as Red Bull will have to provide the details and they’ll plead the 5th or slam the FIA with more paperwork than they can handle.

      1. @freelittlebirds we’ve not seen “too many names”. We’ve seen RBR and AM supposedly being attached to it. And from where it comes from, nobody knows. That’s it, that’s all there is to it.

        It’s the same as the flexifloor saga. RBR was also easily attached to it. And everybody peddling it was left with egg on their faces, but still the damage is done.

        If the FIA comes out and says everyone was below, nothing needs to be proven.

    7. Reportedly, you shouldn’t expect journalism from the rumors spread in this site.

  3. If you’d wired it directly to Michael Masi, then sure.

    1. Masi certainly needs a new floor now and that 300k might very well do it.

  4. This is getting beyond ridiculous now. We will need a new definition of what ‘sore losers’ means.

    1. I think they have a right to be sore losers, and any unbiased outsider would think the same if they’re familiar with the rulebook.

      And you don’t need a financial questionnaire to come to the conclusion otherwise.

      It’s the biggest prize in Motorsport, the destiny of which was influenced by a desire to put on a show, and breaking the sports rules to do so.

      But, all of this is off topic.. so, never mind.

      1. The “right”? They got to Silverstone with a “C” car. How can you make 3 cars a season and be on budget?
        -I don’t like your engine “banned”
        -I don’t like your floor “banned”
        -race went poorly at hockenheim “dsq the alfa romeo”

        1. It’s not a C car, it was an upgrade. Don’t invent things. Untill Silverstone they played catch-up with the regulation change that benefited Redbull, to begin with.

    2. first we need to redefine fair racing

    3. No, no, it’s well known that F1 development is inexpensive and that a few hundred « k » makes the whole difference. Speed lane infractions during practice is therefore the main limiting factor in car developments during the seasons !

      These guys are all going Trump, it’s amazing…

    4. Maybe so, but the winners aren’t any better!

  5. How much did it cost Red Bull to rebuild Verstappen’s car after silverstone?

    1. where VER was partly at fault for crashing…

      1. Keep dreaming look at Lewis left front his rim was broken. He praticed that move several times before (Albon) Max was on the Racing line and Lewis was on the inside oversteering to the outside (which the stewards concluded) which means he had to lift but he was gambling on a 5 seconds penaulty.

        1. Anybody who says that the collision was intentional and/or premeditated is simply disingenuous. You know you’re lying but you do it anyway in the hope that reality changes. Not going to work.

          1. Does that opinion also go for monza or only for silverstone? Because the driver predominantly at fault changed in the 2 occasions.

          2. no, Monza was an intentional takeout by max

      2. Pat Symonds ran an aero analysis that established that Max’s own side wake caused Lewis’ understeer, when Lewis was backing off realising that Max was going to stay on it come what may. It was a sweet dummy and Max stubbornly wouldn’t accept it, turned in leaving 1.00000 car widths and the obvious happened.

        1. Exactly. There was more space to Max’s left than to his right.

    2. I think at the time they claimed it would be almost a million

      1. Maybe Red Bull invoiced that to Mercedes, and the whole discussion with FIA is now if Red Bull can exclude it and Mercedes needs to include it in their cost base ;)

        1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          6th October 2022, 9:52

          Mercedes would have been overspending if they also get the invoice for Bottas bowling ball in Hungary.

        2. Ahaha, that would only be fair with all the damage merc caused rb in 2021!

    3. Around the same as when Max mounted Lewis’ car in Monza.

      1. @todfod you’re kidding, right? Right?

        1. So, are you suggesting a ~160mph sideways impact creates the same amount of damage as a (for F1 terms) slow speed crash on top of the roll-hoop and halo?

          That’s a bit of a stretch, is it not? One is a mayor chassis, suspension, PU, drivetrain and wiring write-off. The other needs a new roll-hoop, halo-winglets, sensors/wiring and maybe floor (Lewis felt the car was good enough to try and continue if he was not beached).

          Whereas I usually went to F1fanatic/Racefans for informed and unique – slightly ‘nerdy’ sometimes – content, it has over time moved away from it’s core (there are still gems from time to time though). I sincerely hope a return to civil discussions and high-quality content is a priority, although I understand it is simply not how media works as a business these days.

  6. Competitiveness is not to be underestimated. 2021 was unbelievably tight and I would’ve been disappointed if on the receiving end of losing considering the amount of effort put in. If you then “suspect”/ hear that there are potentially other things happening on top of what has happened from the governing body, I’d indeed be a little peeved and concerned.

    Would be like an athlete testing positive for drugs after the fact and still allowed to keep the medal and associated accolades.

    1. spending more money is like financial doping

      1. At least I see what your addiction is

  7. Lewis could have been champion if he didn’t miss the corner in Baku. Much cheaper than 300000.

    1. They could have bribed Masi to just follow the ruled for even less than 300k.

      1. Fia rewrote the rule, that was supposedly broken.

      2. 300k only to bribe masi for a championship deciding decision? I think it’d take at least 100 mil to sway him about that! I don’t believe 300k would’ve been enough for another upgrade though.

    2. Wow, he made a mistake. Like every other driver throughout last season. What an unnecessary comment…

      1. I still don’t consider that a mistake. Prove me otherwise.
        If he had forgotten to switch it off then yes a mistake without doubt..

    3. @Meiko
      That was just human error.

  8. Mercedes could also have spend the 300k on the 21 campaign and retracted that from the 2022 car development. Point being, part of it is budget but also part of it is strategy. From all thats been said Mercedes prioritized 22 more than Red Bull did who wanted to go for the 21 win.

    1. On the Marbles
      6th October 2022, 8:39

      Is that what happened though? Sounds more like RB may have just spent an additional 300k not simple allocated it to something else.

    2. Interesting comment and something to take into account as well.

      I do like the idea of strategic use of resources. Being able to sacrifice one season for the other has been something that has always been a part of F1, but historically more so for the smaller budgets on the grid (now it is for all to some extent).

      However I do understand Mercedes frustration if RBR are found to have over-spend, as that would (partially) avoid the decision making needed for this strategic use of resources. For now all is just speculation though, we’ll have to wait for FIA to complete their audit. And my god do audits and deadlines hate each other generally… (legal ramifications of mistakes
      and all that).

  9. And to think this could all have been avoided if the FIA had set out the exact punishments for breaking the budget cap BEFORE introducing it. Horrendous incompetence, whatever the outcome, as whatever they do now will look biased towards one team.

    1. I think you’re right in that the left the punishments to vague. The fact that there are many possible punishments meaning it’s just a matter if choice and that there are apparent minor and major breaches. Lol $7.5m is not minor at all..

      If it were clear cut, you go over you get dsq’d that would have been better

  10. After Silverstone, MB clearly had the dominant car until the end of the season. What is Lewis complaining about?

    1. He always is. Its part of his personality

    2. Nobody was dominant in 2021. Do you understand what dominance means? It means a substantial performance gap which the competition cannot challenge. Redbull and Mercedes were extremely close, with circuits suiting one more than the other.

      1. They were pretty equal over the season. It was only Max’ consistency that countered all the DNF’s along with Lewis’ good fortune with red flags.

  11. It is telling to see the performance difference this year and the correlation with Hamilton getting involved in all these discussions whilst Verstappen () ignores budget cap talk

    1. Just a wild guess, are you ColdFly? (formerly a very frequent commenter on this site)

      1. Close, but no cigar.
        Which is quite scary as we are indeed often sharing IP addresses.
        Does this mean that I now also have to access this site via a secure VPN?

        1. Damn! I was absolutely convinced I was right on that one.

      2. How did you find that out?

  12. He is 100% right, totally ridiculous that RB are allowed to ‘break’ the rules and get away with it by the FIA and liberty media with no punishments and token “oops ‘lesson learned’ don’t do it next time” because it helps the spectacle.
    It is no different than Nascar or WWE which is what American owners liberty media is trying to turn F1 into.

  13. Deactivating brake magic was free, Lewis!

    1. Yes, Verstappen drove better than Hamilton last year. Verstappen should still lose the drivers championship if Red Bull sufficiently cheated, no matter how good he was.

    2. Max fans should be thankful that the magic button in Baku simply neutralized the tyre blowout that he suffered, turning a potential 25 points deficit into zero. So, pick one. You cannot say that Lewis lost the championship there and also say that Max deserved it because he retired. Both are part of racing. Max was unbelievably lucky that such a rare mistake happened with Lewis that day.

      1. Max was UNlucky that the tyre blowout cost him an 8 point advantage. Win + FL was incoming.

      2. Nowhere near as lucky as the red flag in Imola. Lewis beached himself and destroyed his front wing trying to get out of the gravel ending up a lap down, yet ended up 2nd. +18 points out of nowhere.
        Then the red flag he caused at Silverstone, helping him repair his car. +26 points he didn’t deserve.
        It’s amazing how Max gaining one solitary place through a bit of luck is blown out of proportion just because it was the last race.

        1. Indeed, it barely covers 1\3 of the luck swing over the year, what happened in abu dhabi, if we want to correct for luck verstappen should end with 37 points or so ahead.

      3. You really can’t talk about luck with verstappen in baku, like the other person said he still lost points compared to what he’d have gained, it’s all about hamilton and the mistake.

    3. You do realise he did deactivate it? Lol go rewatch last season.

  14. If a team(s) has gone over the limit, a penatly precedent has to be set. And that precedent has to ensure it’s disadvantageous from a money, competitiveness or standings penalty point of view for the infringement to be worthwhile. Lets say you go £5M over:
    – Financial penalty, eg. Fine a multiple of the overspend, say 2x-4x; £10-20M
    – Competitive penalty, reduction in CFD or wind tunnel hours
    – Standings penalty, reduction of driver and/or constructors championship points.

    If team(s) get let off leniently at this first instance, they will all start overspending.

    Personally i dont want to see the Driver Standings change, this is not Max’s fault. But perhaps a substantial constructions championship points reduction and a mixture of financial and competitive penalty would be fair.

  15. Sigh, here we go.

  16. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    6th October 2022, 9:50

    Lewis always the sore loser and pretty pathetic to make these remarks.

    The outcome would also have been different if you didn’t slide of in Italy or drove very poorly in Monaco or hit the button on your steering wheel in Baku.
    Or it wouldn’t have made a difference if you didn’t hit Max in Silverstone, Bottas wasn’t a bowling ball in Hungary and probably if Mercedes were smart enough to pit you for new tires in Abu Dhabi.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer

      The outcome would also have been different if you didn’t slide of in Italy

      That’s a different level of bias you have there…. clearly you meant if Max didn’t intentionally crash in to him at Monza.

      Besides, I think he’s in his right to moan about last year. Not only did the officials break the rules to give Max the title, but so did Red Bull by breaking the budget cap. Max drove great last year.. but his 1st WDC does need to have an asterisk put next to it, because honestly, it’s quite ridiculous how only rule breaks could have stolen the title from Lewis.

      1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
        6th October 2022, 10:06

        I was referring to the Imola race where Lewis skidded off and then was able to recover and lose the lap down due to Bottas & Russell crash.

        1. So what are you blaming? His good fortune? He still finished P2. That would have made no difference to the championship.

          1. Hamilton could’ve won imola, didn’t you notice how much he was gaining on verstappen at one stage? He had the fastest car, his small penalty for the mistake was eventually losing any chance to win.

        2. Let’s not mention Max spinning under the safety car, and Leclerc sleeping and not overtaking him. That was lucky too. Max makes mistakes as well, but it just so happened that they were not costly when they happened, with the exception of Silverstone and Monza.

      2. but so did Red Bull by breaking the budget cap

        What happened to “innocent until proven quilty”? Looks like people have learned nothing from the flexifloor discussion.

    2. You’d know – it’s two sides of the same coin.

  17. Didn’t need to make the investment as on merit he did win last year. Only reason he “lost” was Masi’s interference.

  18. I am stunned at the bs that eminates from Hamilton at times. Is this another mechanism of the mentally unstable Toto by using Hamilton as a mouthpiece like he does Russell at times?
    News for you Lewis, you lost the 2021 title because Max was better.

    1. No, wrong. He lost the title because Redbull was massively helped by the regulation changes, and because ultimately the race director broke the SC procedure in Abu Dhabi to “go racing”, under pressure from the Redbull crew. Everybody saw that. Hamilton was the fastest car+driver combo in Abu Dhabi, he had a lead of about 10s to Verstappen. On merit that race was his, but Masi made sure that wouldn’t happen.

      1. Obviously only the last race matters, huh? Why don’t you mention silverstone, hungary, baku?

      2. Or imola even, or dare I say monza, where without a slow pit stop the accident wouldn’t have happened?

  19. Only if the USD300,000 was sent to Williams to stop Latifi getting in the car ahead of the showdown in Abu Dhabi…

    1. Hahaha, good one

  20. I think some people in Stuttgart are swearing a lot nowadays. However you look at it, this isn’t ideal for the Mercedes brand. If I were in the shoes of Ola, I would’ve taken the phone by now and explained to Toto and Lewis that they need to look forward and shut their trap about things like this, and do their job.

    1. With every day they are still around my surprose about this increases. I guess the one third ownership is just nearly protecting Toto. He has been putting the Mercedes brand in jeopardy for almost a year now. The marketing cost involved to recover is staggering. I wouldnt be surprised if Merceds pulls the plug altogether as this is costing them more than it returns.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        6th October 2022, 11:30

        Do you have the sales figures from Mercedes for the last few years and other evidence of your claims?

        1. Yes I do. Minus 11,2% in Europe (and minus 25,5% in Germany), minus 1,6% in Asia (minus 2% China) and up 0,3% in North America.

          1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
            6th October 2022, 14:00

            Europe’s market for new cars shrank to 1995 levels in September after every major automaker found its production poleaxed by shortages of semiconductors.

            Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Mini and Alfa Romeo were the worst hit, with their sales roughly halved for the month compared to an already-difficult 2020.

  21. If that was the case, LH should give up on 300k of his salary to become champion.

  22. One person said it perfectly above.

    Going over the budget is like “Financial Doping”

    Minor breaches can count for up to 1 sec a lap.

    Sorry Orange army, if it is RB, then DQ should be given for WDC and WCC to all races they were over the limit.

    A fine is not going to be good enough after the Fiasco in Abu Dhabi.

    1. And the other way around. If it turns out to be nothing I feel Toto needs to leave the sport.

      1. A “Bringing the sport into disrepute” case is long overdue. Not just with Wolff and Hamilton, but Horner too.

        1. I wouldn’t stop there. Brown and Seidl deserve to be in that conversation. Ferrari deserves to be in it (Any leaks through Gazetto Dello Sport are very likely through them). Alpine for sure deserve to be in that conversation as well.

          Bottom line is that I wouldn’t be opposed to a rule with a hefty fine against “Anonymous leaking” or just blatant “ disparaging of the sport or people in the sport.” Time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all.

          If they can give Horner a penalty for talking bad about a steward, than surely this must be possible.

          1. Yeah, penalize everyone for speaking about a topic which RBR obviously doesnt like too much. Sounds like a plan…

          2. @RomTrain I wasn’t specifically talking about just this issue and I wasn’t excluding Red Bull either.

          3. Fully agree. Can we please go back to racing. And can FIA please take a stand against the bullying of team bosses. If they can’t behave they need to go.

          4. Thank you. I am fully aware of that. It is called expressing an opinion

  23. I am not sure this comment by Lewis is very helpful in this situation. It’s not going to change anything. I guess he was just answering a question but his answer just puts more pressure on the FIA actions/announcement.

    Can’t we just leave this all until Monday now. Rolls eyes.

    1. It is a deliberately planned response. By now Mercedes knows it might come down to a minor infringement, which doesnt suit them. So they will start the ‘I would have won if I had just an euro more’ narrative to undermine the ‘minor’ part of the future FIA statement. They will argue a breach is a breach even if it is one euro. Just to keep the undermining going

      1. Many other teams also stated that not only exceeding the costcap by multiple millions offers a significant advantage.

        1. That doesn’t change that this answer was pre-prepared. They already knew there would be a question about it. All of the teams have press officers that brief the drivers beforehand how to respond to certain questions (any Drive To Survive viewers will remember Vettel getting briefed by Ferrari’s press officer on how to respond to questions about Charles and about him leaving the team, for instance). And this answer is no doubt pre-briefed.

          Remember, last week Toto made it sound like Red Bull were going to be found “majorly” over the limit. And now Lewis makes a statement that even a much lower amount would have meant a whole deal of performance. I find it very hard to believe that’s a coincidence.

          The media is often used as a pawn to spin narratives, all teams do this, and all teams will use willing drivers to help them.

          1. Regrettably, I think you might be correct. It does sound like even if there is now only a minor breach of the rules, other teams (not just Merc) will seek to make as much of this as they can. Personally, I think a breach is a breach so even if there is only a small infringement, firm action needs to be seen to be taken. Or what’s the point in having cap at all if people can say, oh it was only a few hundred thousand?

      2. It’s funny – it started off as “they’ve massively overspent.” Then it was “Ok… well maybe not but it’s still a major breach”. “Ok….. well it’s a minor breach but that should still be punished heavily.” “Only £300k? Oh. Well if we spent £300k extra we’d be Champions!!!!”

        No-one outside of the FIA and possibly Red Bull know exactly what the outcome is yet but everyone’s got an opinion! :D

        1. Including you! :D

    2. Everyone has a right to their opinion or promoting the position of their team in interviews. I don’t really see the problem. Horners had his say, Toto’s had his. Everyone else had had theirs, including us fans. I don’t see the problem, it’s just the way it is.

      Just a waiting game now to see exactly what’s what and go from there.

      1. The problem I see in this is that (in my opinion deliberately) the perception is created that RB cheated. That sticks, even should they be found in compliance. And in the process FIA is discredited as well. I hope the new FIA boss is an intelligent man and puts and end to all of this. I understand he can not just add in the general conditions that no-one is allowed to talk on topics before the official FIA announcements or otherwise go compete in some one else racing category. Teams will just threaten to leave. The solution is more teams so it doesn’t matter if one drops out. This is however passionately blocked by Toto as well. He knows how to maintain power and control.

  24. This is a pretty obvious attempt to frame the issue in such a way that the Mercedes-desired outcome equates to transparancy. Wolff and Hamilton play this game well.

    We’ll see if there is more to these insinuating comments than their dozen other “concerns”, from flexing floors, flexing wings, engine upgrades, to suspiciously fast pitstop. So far, Hamilton and Wolff’s score is pretty poor.

    1. There score is indeed very low, but they know they just need one. I agree they are the rightful champions of PR. I will certainly reach out to them should I ever be in trouble. Unfortunately for them F1 is about racing though, maybe Toto should start a PR company.

    2. You’re just a mouth piece for Redbull, aren’t you? You’re unable to hold a conversation looking at both sides and questioning your own beliefs. You immediately frame your position against Mercedes and Hamilton. You start from the premise that they’re disingenuous. That’s the definition of bias.

      1. A narrative not suiting yours isn’t necessarily wrong and he did support his statement by referring to earlier nonsense coming from Mercedes:

        their dozen other “concerns”, from flexing floors, flexing wings, engine upgrades, to suspiciously fast pitstop.

        1. And that is why it is not fair to just quote from one team and not the other. Anyone can see the bias there.

      2. Hamilton and Wolff aren’t new to the sport nor to political games. They are experts at offering dots in such a way as to leave only a few ways to connect them, while maintaining that they never accused anyone of outright cheating. Now, that history doesn’t mean they are wrong, but it does mean their claims should be substantiated before being given too much attention. So far, there is little reason to believe them.

        Red Bull are no saints either, and have cheated before. Have they this time? The FIA will say soon enough.

      3. I mean, wolff and mercedes have been lying over and over for years about their performance, then went on to dominate or have a very good car, I think they asked for this mistrust in what they say.

      4. I think any major statement specifically pointing to a teams accounting is disingenuous in this case, as the FIA is working with high-value data from multiple mega-corporations that needs to be kept completely secret till the audit is completed.

        Furthermore, the comments are quite harsh towards both the accused teams, the FIA and all auditors involved (the biggest audit firms in the world mind you). These statements are clear public slander if they turn out baseless, and a confidential data breach if Toto somehow knows this about an ongoing FIA procedure.

        It is just not logical and professional to comment this way, unless you seek to gain from it.

  25. Mercedes must have relocated their factories to southeast asia otherwise I can’t see how they did not overspend massively.
    That last upgrade Lewis is mentioning is the third iteration of the 21 car, another full revamp, they also kept coming out with suspiciously powerful versions of their PU.
    This year alone I have spotted 6 different real wings, they have also introduced 2 complete aero configurations, countless floors, and got the fia to change the floor rules twice, adding more support structures and then the anti-porpoising measures.
    How can mercedes afford all this? Is Tombazis still on their pay-roll?

    1. This is staggering indeed and requires a full investigation from FIA! (just mimicking the antics of what has been going on the last few days)

    2. @peartree totally agree, QOTD

    3. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      6th October 2022, 12:45

      Power unit not part of the cost cap. There was no freeze in 2021 on the PU. The power unit division were free to do what they liked in 2021.

      I guess that doesn’t sit well with you?

      The freeze in 2022 for performance on the ICE was March or April and the freeze for the ERS was September. Now the PUs are frozen for performance upgrades but free to make reliability upgrades with FIA consent.

      1. @andyfromsandy – You picked one line out of the entire comment to respond to. Did the rest not sit will with you?

        1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
          6th October 2022, 16:36

          The rest is just usual huff and puff rubbish.

  26. The idea that if Mercedes had spent ‘just 300,000 more’ on a wing it would have changed the outcome of the title is ridiculous. Do we not remember Toyota spending the income of a small country for the best part of a decade and winning exactly nothing? Are we now simply pulling numbers out of thin air with no basis in truth or logic and reporting them as fact – because Hamilton/Wolff said so?

    1. The amount of nonsense coming from their part of the paddock is just amazing. Makes you wonder why they are in the sport in the first place. Why don’t they go and do something they actually love instead of trying to achieve results through media and lawyers.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        6th October 2022, 14:56

        Because they make out-bursts not dissimilar to Verstappen running out of petrol perhaps means they are passionate about the sport.

        1. There is a difference between out-bursts in the heat of the moment, something I would expect from top athletes and passionate team members, and a planned media strategy

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      6th October 2022, 14:47

      And you know this because (not Toyota’s failings)?

    3. @rocketpanda Maybe Lewis is just playing the media game here. As the topic went hot again Lewis wants to be part of it again..

  27. IIRC, for a while 2021 was intended to be a test season for the cost cap, when the spendings will be tracked but without real consequences. Is this changed since then, and if yes, when? Because F1 tends to be silent so elegantly sometimes, when it comes to forgetting something not so viable for example.

    I have not really read news about this change. Or was the test season 2020?
    So in the end I do not understand all of this drumbeating by many, while I do not see anyone mentioning the “test season”.
    Also I do not really see anyone mentioning, that for a long while it looked like that participants do not want to have sporting penalties for exceeding the cost cap. (Although I do not like this idea, but it was what they wanted.)

    So based on the aforementioned things, I can not really take this yet so seriously. Maybe later I will, but who knows.

    I just do not like the implementation of the cost cap, although imo something needs to be done, because for susutainability reasons, I do not want to see billions being spent on fielding 2 cars/season.
    I do not like the implementations, because the evaulation of the spendings is shamefully slow. The evaulation should be finished by the time of the last race or not much after that, surely before the new season’s start.

    If they can not implement it, yes then I would like an all-inclusive cost cap. So engines, and engine and fuel development included, the teams should pay for all of it. Although I do not know how this could be achieved because engine and fuel development is often done with self advertising goals by the car manufacturers and fuel companies I guess. Also it would be problematic, to calculate the share of the cost of engine development for works and independent teams.

    Also I do not like that the engines are sold as a package/season, at a fixed price (or it is said to be like that). So theoretically if for example Williams wants to burn through 20 engines/season, with the intention of a blitzkrieg-like championship campaign during, which they are trying to surprise their oppositon, then theoretically they should be provided, but maybe their engine providers would decline to supply them with so many engines, to have some capacity to provide for their factory team more safely. If they would announce it in advance maybe they would be turned down immediately, meanwhile if they just would do this it in a not so obvious manner, they could get some extra engines I expect. I am saying this because the Mercedes factory team used so many engines during their 2021 campaign, but could have one of their supplied works or indie team done so?

    So in the end, there have been a fairly dumb solution for the cost cap, what I have seen at some forums from someone else (I have forgot the source’s identitiy although), so let’s come up with a loose-quote:
    “If they can not reliably and quickly evaulate the spendings, or if there is a distrust otwards eachother, let’s have a prepaid card-like solution.” So all ot the money stored at a designated accout. The teams can only pay by using that account. Or maybe there should be a man-in-the middle, or service in the middle, and all of the payments flowing through that, to be trackable. Additionally I would include every cost into the cost cap, and I would like to see some bills/engine, and for fuel development as well. Even if the car and fuel companies want to do this as self advertisement, I would like to see the cost of these developments publicly displayed. Then the fans could decide whether this is sustainable enough, to give their support for them, or turn the back on their former favourites, because they are all about semi valid arguments about sustainability, and green goals. I do believe that the road going car development would largely be the same without F1, or without a particular manufacturer participanting in F1. In the eng it si likely somewhat true, as there are more manufacturers outside, than inside, and the development methods are quite professional nowadays anyway for many of them.

    But as they came up with the idea of the necessity of the cost cap needs follow inflation so slowly, I am not sure that they will ever solve this. Imo this should have been obvious.

    So for me, there are still too many semi valid, and hard to wholeheartedly justify arguments around F1 nowadays.
    Imo the current people around are underestimating the real value of an entertaining-by-itself (thus nice to spectate) pure sport, while they are overestimating their corporate arguments. This can not go on indefinitely.

    1. Let’s have some more funny ideas:

      1) If there would be a prepaid-card-like account, or somehow the spendings could be tracked “realtime”, then like the team radio, it could be publicly visible for the fans in realtime as well. Although, I do not really like the team radio being public, as it is somewhat restrictive/shackling strategy-wise. For me, I guess, this would be similar then. Also I like crime stories, and F1, because I want to/like to find out the upcoming events/strategies by myself, instead of having the for-10year-olds version of it.

      Also, as the team radio is primarily for intra team communication, I guess, I do not mind some sweariness in the heat of the moment from the drivers. Obviously from a point sweariness can be a disadvantage/not elegant/not sufficiently professional etc., even in hot situations although.

      2) If teams with strong financial background like to make hints about races and championships being decided in civil courts, then let’s include the costs of their law specialists also into the cost cap.

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      6th October 2022, 13:56

      At present Ferrari have had some reliability issues with their PU, part of wanting to get more power. The regulations state they have to supply the same engines to their customers. If Haas or Alfa have engine failures is it right they should pay for the R&D to fix it?

      1. It is not an easy question indeed.
        Well, I guess, currently not even the factory teams are paying for the full cost of the R&D, and manufacturing. But I would like to see the full costs mandatorily publicated.
        And I would like to have teams at least partially paying for the R&D, even if it is mainly done as self advertising by the car manufacturers. But I guess, the works and indie teams will have less influence/options on the direction of the development, and mostly they have to adapt to the manufacturer.

        Although I do not like the very strong presence of manufacturers, I liked the older days more. Pesonally I would have a much more open rule-set (formula), which changes much more rapidly than in the last 15-20years, with safety and a strict cost cap as restrictions. For me optimally it would be about inventing, and not about sticking with something and optimising it for long. If the whole thing would be cheaper then maybe there would be less reluctance to frequnet tech rule changes. Nowadays the rule changes are greeted with so much toxicity, instead of accepting that rapid change is often part of the pinnacle of engineering.

        I would say, it would be better to charge the teams with a price / engine, instead of a fixed price package/season. (If the rules about reliability requirements are really important for F1.) Although the fixed price package/season format is something like a guarantee about reliability, and maybe it is somewhat helpful for the less well-off smaller teams.

        Maybe if it would be a pay/engine model, then paired up with a points deduction at the constructor’s campionship results could be punishing enough to drop the grid penalties for engine, etc. replacements. Although how many points they should deduct? If too much then that even could introduce having below zero points for the backmarkers. I am not sure that managers of today’s world would happily take it :D
        Or they could deduct something like 3-5 percent of the constructor points/engine change, but that would introduce non-integer numbers in the points standings. Although I could accept that, imo we are not in the stone age.

  28. just exclude crash damage from the budgetcap. Red Bull had to spend millions in to pay for those. Kinda unfair you can just crash out a few competitors and they will run out of budget….

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      6th October 2022, 13:52

      Based on uncertainty of the outcome and even a threat to one’s own life I doubt any crash is premeditated.

    2. the risk to crash is there for everyone competing. sometimes driver errors, sometimes bad luck, sometimes racing incidents. sometimes drivers do brakechecks without proper punishment. those things happen. all you can do, is tell your own drivers to not take dumb risks or driver over-aggressive. RBR ofc suffered from over-aggressive driving, thats right.

    3. While I disagree with the suggestion that someone might deliberately cause a crash (Hmmm). I do agree that crash damage repair cost should be excluded from the cap, the cost for crash damage is totally unpredictable and luck reliant. RB definitely suffered more than most last year on this front through no fault of their own.

      1. Or maybe excluded if the crash is not self inflicted.

  29. The only interest of the articles about this.
    The numbers of click.
    This one : 150 comments.

    The one about Latify and Zhou :
    8 comments.

    Internet trafic is the key.

  30. Burning all those rocket engines wasn’t enough?

    1. How many engine penalties did they take? More than other teams?

  31. Hamilton’s statement (and also Binotto’s, who claims that € 4 000 000 extra represents 0.5 sec/lap) are demagogic and deserve no credit. Worse than that just Wolff’s recent comments on the matter, but that is not surprising.

    1. If anyone spent the time to recalculate the 2021 drivers championship by removing bad luck and bad calls by the stewards (Not Driver or Team error, that counts), Max would have won the championship by a bigger margin and earlier in the season.
      Making a statement that additional $N = .X faster means that $N x Y = Y x .X faster, so infinitely faster, really dumb statement.

  32. If RB broke the rules and went over the cost cap they should be excluded from the 2022 and 2021 championships and Lewis made 2021 champion.

    If not why have rules in the first place if they can just be abused to increase the spectacle of the sport? So its ok to disqualify a car from a race if its a kilo underweight or exceeding design measurements by a sub mm amount (Lewis at Brazil 2021 qualifying) but if you overspend over the fixed clear cost cap amount nothing happens and you get the typical FIA/Liberty media “don’t do it again, lessons learned” pr spin and eventually brush it under the carpet?

  33. Does he mean 300.000 spent on an Aston Martin safety car? The one a lot slower than Mercedes?

  34. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    6th October 2022, 20:24

    The one that Perez claimed he couldn’t keep up with?

    1. Ahah, good point

  35. I’m a Merc fan, I drive a Merc. But I am starting to hope the Merc are over the cap, just so Wolf and Ham can eat their words and shut the …. up, and it would hopefully put an end to the endless moaning about last years.

  36. FIA screwed the pooch big time. Obviously, they found some transgressions, or they would have released the summation during the break. They’ve sat on the findings, hoping they wouldn’t leak out, or they’ve intentionally leaked some info to gauge the reaction. I believe a public report will be published minimizing the size of the transgressions but behind the scenes, a deal will be struck between the teams to handle it, quietly, going forward. We’ll see if that ends up being leaked.

  37. First off, wow. This really blew up.

    Now, it seems increasingly clear something is afoot at RBR concerning their 2021 budget. The question is, will FIA balk like with Ferrari’s engines in 2019? Or they will bite the bullet and risk the scandal betting that at worst someone like Porsche is ready to take over RBR anyway?

    It’s not like a beverage company has anywhere as much prestige as Ferrari, as clownish as they can be.

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