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Luke Smith

Hamilton: F1 ‘might as well not have a cost cap’ if breaches get slap on the wrist

F1 is currently waiting to hear from the FIA about any potential action against Red Bull after the team was deemed to have breached the $145 million budget cap for the 2021 season.

Red Bull has strongly denied that it exceeded the budget cap for last year, and is now in talks with the FIA about next steps in the case.

Hamilton missed out on last year’s F1 world title on the final lap of the race, losing to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in a controversial finish after a fierce fight throughout the year.

Speaking for the first time since the FIA confirmed Red Bull was deemed to have breached the budget cap last year, Hamilton said he was thinking about what any potential sanction should entail as “it would be all an assumption of what may or may not might happen.”

Red Bull could face financial and/or sporting penalties for the minor overspend breach, which is within 5% of the budget cap. The figure being discussed is understood to be around $1.8m. 

But Hamilton did stress the need for the FIA to enforce the budget cap to protect its integrity and that of F1 as a whole.

“I do think the sport needs to do something about this,” said Hamilton.

“Otherwise, if it’s quite relaxed, if they’re relaxed with these rules, then all the teams will just go over.

“And spending millions more and then only having a slap on the wrist is obviously not going to be great for the sport. They might as well not have a cost cap for the future [in that case].”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18 (Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images)

Hamilton expressed his faith in FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and his team to “make the right decisions” to ensure F1’s integrity was looked after.

“I have to believe that,” said Hamilton.

“I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, naturally. And otherwise, I’m just focused on doing the best job I can. What they have done, it’s done.”

Hamilton also echoed the calls from many of his fellow drivers for transparency and for those running F1 to be “true to the values of the sport and the regulations that were put there to be policed.”

“I think it can be a confusing time for fans,” said Hamilton.

“Without the fans, the sport is nothing. So yeah. I think we’ve just got to hold on to those values.”

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