Budget fraud at Red Bull?: Formula 1 is threatened with the maximum explosion

It's about millions and a true Formula 1 earthquake.

Budget fraud at Red Bull?: Formula 1 is threatened with the maximum explosion

It's about millions and a true Formula 1 earthquake. Because in the racing series, a dispute with immense explosive power is smoldering: Red Bull is said to have exceeded the new budget limit - and of all things in Max Verstappen's world champion year. Already in the middle of this week it could crack properly.

Actually, this is the hour of the very high animals. The executive floors of the Formula 1 teams are throwing dirt at each other again, it's about millions, about possible budget fraud by Red Bull, it's about Max Verstappen's world championship title. And at some point the star pilot himself got involved in this dispute, which could still become quite important.

"I know where that comes from," said Verstappen during the weekend in Singapore, which was so disappointing for him in terms of sport: "The other teams are talking about it, but they don't have any information, I think it's a bit stupid, just keep your mouth shut." And the others are now also keeping their mouths shut, but probably only until the middle of this week: then the world association FIA wants to publish the results of its budget reviews, including any sanctions. A real earthquake for Formula 1 seems at least possible.

That's what it's all about: Since 2021, for the first time in history, there has been a budget cap to align opportunities in the field. Reports surfaced ahead of the Singapore race that two teams had exceeded that limit. One of them clearly, it is said to be Red Bull - in the year in which Verstappen narrowly won the title.

The other racing teams, especially Red Bull's rivals, did a lot to make the topic bigger. Head of Mercedes Motorsport Toto Wolff and Ferrari's Mattia Binotto met in the paddock in a rare unity, then shook hands in publicity. Their statements were similar. "Transparency" is now needed, the FIA ​​must prove its ability to act and lead.

Red Bull Racing was indignant. One is "100 percent" convinced that the budget cap of almost 150 million dollars has not been exceeded. Team boss Christian Horner accuses the competition of having leaked information to the media. "How on earth do they want such knowledge," said Horner: "The FIA ​​hasn't announced anything, they're not even finished." In the aftermath, legal action will also be considered, "that is absolutely defamatory."

Then things calmed down a bit, let's wait and see the results, so the tenor was - by now there was enough attention anyway. The excitement on both sides is understandable. Red Bull is still in contact with the FIA, there are simply no results yet. And in the many companies that contribute to Red Bull's Formula 1 project, there are undoubtedly many people who have nothing to do directly with the racing team.

However, if there had been a clear overrun, then the World Cup result from last season would be in question. Verstappen had prevailed against Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes with a lead of just eight points. A few million can certainly bring a development advantage. And because there is always development for the next few years, an offense would even have an impact on the current season and, in turn, on the coming one. "Actually, it's about a chain," says Wolff.

Whatever comes out this week, it should keep Formula 1 busy. And while the big ones talk so much, precise control of the budget rules is particularly important for the smaller teams. "We have to make sure that the budget cap is not devalued," says Günther Steiner from Mick Schumacher's Haas racing team: "He made Formula 1 a better sport." First of all, however: "Innocent until proven guilty."

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