As the FIA is yet to announce the outcome of its investigation into Red Bull’s alleged budget cap breach, several drivers have voiced their doubts and concerns about the situation. During various media debriefs in Japan, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Carlos Sainz expressed their thoughts on the matter.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton recalled how Red Bull brought numerous upgrades during the 2022 season and questioned the team’s ability to develop so quickly. “I think we need to continue to have transparency for the fans, for the integrity of the sport. I think it’s imperative, honestly, just for transparency,” he said. Hamilton called for greater transparency in the budget cap system, suggesting that upgrades worth as little as $300,000 could have a significant impact on the outcome of the championship.
Mercedes teammate George Russell also chimed in on the discussion, emphasizing the importance of staying within the budget cap. “I just know from our experience within Mercedes, how hard the whole team has worked to stay within that cost cap,” he said.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc echoed Russell’s thoughts and called for strict punishment if any team is found guilty of violating the budget cap rules. “If we have more to spend, you will go faster on track. So if there’s any team found guilty of that, they should be punished,” he said.
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz also expressed his concerns about Red Bull’s rapid development. “We all know how important further development in Formula 1 is, and of course, it makes a difference,” he said. Sainz emphasized that Red Bull’s development was particularly noteworthy because of the budget cap, which limits teams’ spending.
As for Red Bull, the team has strongly denied any wrongdoing, and multiple team officials have claimed that they are confident of their compliance with the budget cap regulations. The FIA is yet to make a statement on the matter, leaving a shadow of doubt over Red Bull’s 2021 championship-winning season.