Red Bull Racing reportedly only in 'minor breach' of budget cap, denying Lewis Hamilton chance of being handed 2021 F1 title
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Lewis Hamilton fans look set to be left disappointed over the 2021 Formula One drivers' World Championship after all, following reports of Red Bull breaking the budget cap.
Hamilton lost out on the title to Max Verstappen last year, in the final lap of the final race, in the most controversial circumstances since Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill crashed in Australia in 1994.
Despite the current season being all but over, in terms of races left and the fact that Verstappen is so far ahead, talk of reversing the decision has never gone away.
Even in the recent Italian Grand Prix, last month, fans were using examples of why the championship should be overturned to make Hamilton a record-breaking eight-time world champion.
While that always seemed like an unlikely outcome, fans of Mercedes, and the British driver, were given a huge boost last week over reports about this week's announcement concerning last season's budget caps.
Some inside reports claimed that Red Bull were in 'material' breach of the spending limit that was placed on teams last year, which could have led to sanctions as far as expulsion from the championship.
However, according to the Daily Mail, that's not going to be the case when the reports are released, although it may not actually be this week.
The newspaper claims that any discrepancy in the cap could be as little as £1m, or perhaps even less so, as a 'procedural' breach.
That would, as a result, unlikely lead to a punishment for Christian Horner's team and certainly not one that could see the world title be taken off Verstappen and given to Hamilton.
Horner had hit out at the reports that were coming from the paddock last week and even threatened legal action against Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, if the Austrian didn't retract his comments.
The Red Bull team principal will feel vindicated in his words, with the rumours emerging just as Verstappen looked to be wrapping up a second title, if that does indeed end up being the case.
His driver did not end up securing this year's title on Sunday, as the Dutch driver could only finish seventh.
Teammate Sergio Perez won the race, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, the only man who can mathematically stop Verstappen, in third.
He will become a two-time drivers' world champion if he wins in Japan on Sunday, at the Japanese Grand Prix, and Leclerc finishes lower than second, or if he wins with a bonus point for fastest lap.
"Funny that Christian says that because it's been weeks and months they are being investigated"— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) September 30, 2022
Toto Wolff has his say on the 2021 Formula One budget cap. pic.twitter.com/OX82UJd68P
Wolff will be left feeling annoyed if there is any breach of the £114m budget cap from their rivals, even if it's not the £10m first reported.
The 50-year-old, who has steered his team to eight constructors titles in a row before this season, was sure that strict punishment should be handed out for any breaches.
Speaking on Saturday about the issues, Wolff said the issue was 'massively heavyweight' and explained that he'd made 40 people redundant because of the budget cap.