F1 2022 news, Japanese Grand Prix, cost cap, FIA, budget cap, Red Bull Racing, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Max Verstappen, regulations

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Lewis Hamilton says he hopes the FIA’s delay in certifying the 2021 cost cap data is a sign of due diligence as the sport is forced to wait another five days before finding out whether Red Bull Racing is in breach.

The governing body had previously told teams that it would complete the process by Wednesday, when the majority of the paddock would have arrived in Japan from Singapore ahead of the race at Suzuka.

But the FIA released a statement at around midnight Japanese time — around 5pm at the governing body’s Paris headquarters — saying that it wasn’t ready to publish the information and that the deadline had been pushed back to Monday.

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“The FIA informs that the conclusion of the analysis of the 2021 financial submissions of the Formula 1 teams and the subsequent release of certificates of compliance to the financial regulations will not take place on Wednesday, 5 October,” it said.

“The analysis of financial submissions is a long and complex process that is ongoing and will be concluded to enable the release of the certificates on Monday, 10 October.

“The financial regulations were agreed unanimously by all competitors, who have worked positively and collaboratively with the FIA cost cap administration throughout this first year under the financial regulations.”

A Monday publication almost certainly guarantees a significant portion of the paddock will be flying home from the race when the information will be released.

The BBC has reported that this is the third time the FIA has delayed its own publication date, having originally planned to release the information on 30 September, when team principals started acknowledging the rumours of potential breaches.

The delay ensures another weekend of speculation about which teams may be found in breach of the cap after the paddock was captured by a rumour that Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin were set to have overspent their budgets.

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Speaking to journalists at the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton said he hoped the delay was a sign that FIA was being rigorous with a process that has potentially enormous implications on the sport and as many as three championship seasons.

“I would like to think that, if it‘s being delayed, it’s because it’s being taken very seriously,” he said. I really trust that Mohammed [Ben Sulayem, FIA president] is taking a seriously and will do what is right for the sport, I hope.

“I think it’s imperative just for transparency. I think we need to continue to have transparency for the fans, for the integrity of the sport.”

Hamilton and Mercedes are particularly invested in the outcome given the Briton lost last season’s title by just eight points to Max Verstappen, who is now alleged to have driven a car built beyond the limit of the cost cap.

There’s a chance the FIA might overturn the result of last year’s championship if Red Bull Racing were found to have egregiously breached the cap, though it’s considered only a remote possibility.

“For sure [it’s a concern], because it then will put into question our values, the integrity of the sport,” Hamilton said.

“I remember last year as a driver, you’re always asking for updates — updates, updates, updates, whether it‘s fuel or whatever it is.

“I remember in Silverstone we got our last update. I remember that was almost 0.3 seconds … and I’m pretty certain it cost less than $1 million.

“But I remember after that needing more updates but then seeing trucks from [Red Bull Racing] of updates continuing to arrive on the other car and thinking, ‘Jeez, it’s going to be hard to beat them in the championship if they keep bringing updates’.

“It‘s so integral to the development race. If we’d had another half a million to spend, we would have been in a different position as some of the following in races — if we had just brought another floor, which could have easily done. But that’s not the name of the game

“It needs to be taken seriously.

“I think it would be bad for the sport if action wasn‘t taken if there is a breach, but I don’t know if there is, so I will wait.”

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Having attempted to shut down the public slinging match between team principals in Singapore, the governing body emphasised again that any rumours about potential breaches were without evidence before the certificates were issued.

“As previously communicated, there has been significant and unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture in relation to this matter, and the FIA reiterates that until it is finalised, no further information will be provided.”

Toto Wolff was the first team principal to publicly vocalise his suspicions that Red Bull Racing was one of the teams “quite a lot over” the cap.

“That’s heavyweight — massively heavyweight,” he said.

But RBR team principal Christian Horner was incensed to have his team connected to a possible breach and threatened legal action against rivals who refused to withdraw the allegations.

“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,” he said.

“That is totally defamatory to the team, to the brands and even to Formula 1, and I‘d be intrigued to know where their source of information has come from.”


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The FIA denied it had suffered a leak, saying that “any suggestion that FIA personnel have disclosed sensitive information is equally baseless”.

Wolff, who said Red Bull Racing’s breach was an “open secret” in the paddock, said he wasn’t surprised the lengthy clarification process between the FIA and representatives of all 10 teams might have led to some information escaping into the public domain.

“This is a big process that‘s taking place between all the [chief financial officers] and the auditors,” he said. “It’s teams sitting together, it’s team teams talking about interpretations.

“This is a whole thing that takes over many, many months in the in the various groups, and then it just needs one ignition — you know, if somebody talks to the media about it — and then it flares up like this.”

The Sun has reported that Toto Wolff has skipped attending the Japanese Grand Prix to lobby the FIA against Red Bull Racing, while London’s Telegraph and Daily Mail have both suggested Red Bull Racing may be found to have committed a procedural breach at worst, which would incur only a fine rather than a sporting penalty.


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