Formula 1 was back on track today in Singapore for the first and second free practice sessions, returning to the Marina Bay circuit three years later. But no one in the paddock seemed really interested in what happened on the long and slow circuit that goes through the Asian city-state.
The entire attention of the world of Formula One and, perhaps, of the entire motorsport is focused on what has already been renamed the ‘budget cap gate’. In fact, rumors that emerged in the Italian newspapers indicated that Red Bull and Aston Martin would have been found by the International Federation for not respecting the spending cap limits for the 2021 F1 season.
Inevitably, the position of the Austrian team, one step away from arithmetically winning both world titles this season and capable of breaking the Mercedes hegemony in the drivers’ championship last year, is causing a stir, pushing Max Verstappen to the world champion title. On a theoretical level, the championship won by the Dutchman in December last year could be in the balance. In reality, it is not yet clear first of all whether the FIA has actually ascertained a violation and – if so – what is the extent of the violation and the sanction that will consequently be imposed. Understandably, however, Mercedes and Ferrari are on a war footing.
The Brackley team demanded transparency through their team principal, Toto Wolff, and so did the Maranello team.
Speaking for the Italian side was the sporting director and deputy team principal Laurent Mekies. The French executive highlighted to the microphones of Sky Sport F1 a concept already partially expressed by the Mercedes boss: it is necessary to clarify, because a violation of the spending limits and expenses impacts on more than a single season: “We consider this situation to be very serious – said Mekies – we expect exemplary punishment from the FIA”. – he explained.
“We trust the Federation 100% – continued Ferrari’s sporting director – as they have taken a strong position in recent months. We expect severity and transparency to be able to compete with the same rules. The implications are huge. The important thing is to establish the how much the budget was exceeded, then we confirm that these are the same rules for everyone. Then it will be necessary to understand what implications it had in 2021, 2022 and also in 2023. The thing on which we expect maximum severity is precisely that of assessing whether the budget cap has been breached “. – Laurent Mekies concluded.