What F1 paddock insiders are saying about Red Bull allegations

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A number of F1 insiders believe that Red Bull may have exceeded last year’s budget cap by as much as £10million, according to reports. The Austrian team have been accused of going over their spending limits by Mercedes and Ferrari but remain adamant that no wrongdoing has taken place ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

The FIA are currently in the final stages of investigating every team’s financial data from last season but it has been suggested that Red Bull may be found to have broken the rules when the findings are revealed next week. Some insiders are said to be adamant that Red Bull overspent by around £10m in 2021, according to Auto Motor und Sport, in spite of their insistence that no regulations were breached.

It remains to be seen how Red Bull would be punished if they are singled out by the FIA over the coming days, with the range of penalties on the table depending on the severity of any financial breaches. The regulations state that a ‘financial penalty and/or any minor sporting penalties’ may be awarded if a team is found to have exceeded the budget cap by up to five per cent of its value.

Stronger punishments may be dished out in the event of breaches greater than five per cent, though, including race bans, points deductions and championship exclusions. This means that Max Verstappen could theoretically be stripped of last year’s Drivers’ Championship title if Red Bull are found guilty of breaking the rules, although the FIA are yet to complete their investigation or make any decisions on what their penalty should be.

JUST IN: Red Bull team member responds to budget leak as Verstappen nears title

Mercedes have led recent calls for Red Bull to be disciplined for going over the budget cap, while Ferrari have also raised questions about their possible financial outlay in 2021. Toto Wolff was quick to claim on Friday that many in the paddock were aware of a team having spent outside their means to a considerable extent over the course of last season.

“All of us have been diligently investigated and as far as we understand there is a team with a minor breach, which is more procedural, and another team that is fundamentally massively over, which is still being looked at,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

“That’s an open secret in the paddock. The rumour mill has been going for a while that they are over, and they are a lot over. That’s not from some [former] employees [who joined Mercedes from Red Bull] but they’ve been investigated now for months.”

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner went on to hit out at Mercedes for making fabricated claims when asked for his view on the situation, with the 48-year-old insisting in no uncertain terms that the allegations involving his team are not true.

“The [comments] are hugely defamatory, and we take umbrage to them,” declared Horner. “One can only assume it’s uncoincidental that this is at a point where Max has his first strike at the world championship.

“How on earth do they have this information? Where do they have this knowledge? The FIA have even stated that they haven’t even completed their process.

“So unless there is a clear withdrawal of those statements, we will be taking it incredibly seriously and looking at what the options available to us are, because it is absolutely unacceptable to be making comments of the type that were made yesterday, that are totally defamatory to the team, the brands and even to Formula One.”

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