Bernie Ecclestone attacks Lewis Hamilton over racism row
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The budget cap row engulfing Formula One involving Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton is set to come to a conclusion soon as Red Bull will be told their punishment for breaching the 2021 budget. Verstappen and the team narrowly won the title last year, pipping the Mercedes driver, but were found to have made a minor breach of the cost cap.
There have been claims that Red Bull’s breach, under five per cent of the £125million cap, put them in an advantageous position for both last season’s championship and for future development, which could have affected the current 2022 season. They were recently constructors’ champions after Verstappen recorded back-to-back drivers’ titles.
Red Bull have denied any breach of the cap and maintained their innocence, but a press conference has been called for 5.30pm on Friday by the FIA which may reveal details of an accepted breach agreement between the governing body and Red Bull. If the team have accepted that they did make a minor overspend, their punishment could be less severe.
ESPN claim that the agreement is likely to include both a financial penalty as well as a sporting one, though a points deduction is unlikely and Red Bull instead will see a restriction in their aerodynamic testing capacity for the 2023 season. The report also claims that stripping the team of points or titles was never a serious consideration.
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Fans have called for a points deduction that would have seen Verstappen hand over his 2021 title to Hamilton, having beaten the Brit by eight points after their final race showdown in Abu Dhabi last year, but the seven-time world champion admitted that he would not get any satisfaction if that decision was made.
“No, because the damage is done,” Hamilton told Motorsport.com when asked for his thoughts on the cost cap row and whether he would get any satisfaction from being awarded the championship retrospectively.
“I have my feeling within of what we did as a team, how we achieved it and what we really truly achieved, and I can keep that to myself within me. We gave it our all and we did it the right way, and I am proud of that.
“Definitely when you heard going into Singapore about this cost [cap] thing that, for sure, brings up a little bit of emotion. Because you kind of buried it and moved on and then it comes back up, and then it’s like another bit of a kick.
“And, yeah, that just bought it all kind of fresh again. So then just getting back into the phase of just suppressing it and moving forwards.”
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