Max Verstappen is expected to keep his first Formula One driver's championship title, despite Red Bull being found in breach of the budget cap.
Verstappen was crowned world champion for the second time on Sunday, at the Japanese Grand Prix, despite everyone at Suzuka initially thinking he still had to win one more point.
Whilst Red Bull celebrated the win, they had the possibility of last season's controversial title being taken away hanging over them, as they awaited the FIA's release of last season's budgets.
There had been talks that the team were going to be over the budget, with rumours swirling around the paddock at the Singapore grand prix the week before.
Christian Horner had been pretty confident that his team had done nothing wrong but on Monday evening it was confirmed that Red Bull had been found in 'minor' breach of the rules.
That means that they have overspent by at most 5%, which equals around $7 million, which will mean some sort of punishment unless they can successfully overturn it.
The punishment could be as much as disqualifying the team from the championship, which would see Verstappen lose his title or as low as a reprimand.
However, according to the Times, it's expected that the team will just get a fine for being over budget, although how much that would be is yet to be determined.
Officially the FIA are still “determining the appropriate course of action to be taken,” and then Red Bull will be able to appeal the findings.
The Milton Keynes based team will be able to accept the verdict and then reach a settlement over the punishment, by accepting guilt.
However, they could also reject the findings from the FIA, with the matter then going to independent accountants, and that decision could then be appealed at the court of arbitration for sport.
Red Bull's statement on Monday night did suggest that they wouldn't accept the initial findings, with the team saying, "We note the findings by the FIA of 'minor overspend breaches of the financial regulations' with surprise and disappointment.
"Our 2021 submission was below the cost cap limit, so we need to carefully review the FIA's findings as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost cap amount.
"Despite the conjecture and positioning of others, there is of course a process under the regulations with the FIA which we will respectfully follow while we consider all the options available to us."
Lewis Hamilton, who would benefit from Verstappen having points taken off him, said that an overspend of even less than a million would have made a huge difference to Mercedes in the title race.
"As a driver you are always asking for updates. In Silverstone, we got our last update and that was [worth] almost 0.3secs. And I am pretty certain it cost less than a million. Maybe in time [working hours] it cost more," the seven time world champion said recently.
"I remember after that needing more updates but seeing trucks of updates continuing to arrive on the other car [Red Bull], and I was thinking it is going to be difficult to beat them in the championship if they keep bringing updates.
"It is so integral to the development race. If we had had another half a million to spend, we would have been in a different position at some of the following races, if we had bought another floor, which we could easily have done.
"But that's not the name of the game and I'm grateful our team is very strict and abides by it. It needs to be taken seriously."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, Formula 1