Red Bull have been accused of over spending during the 2021 F1 world championships, which could even result in Lewis Hamilton being named champion.
Max Verstappen could wrap up his second drivers' world championship this weekend, if everything goes according to plan, at the Singapore Grand Prix, with another five races to go after it.
Whether it happens this weekend or in the next couple, it's almost certain that the Dutchman will become a two time world champ, and he'll be doing it in a much different way to his first.
Last year the Red Bull driver wasn't confirmed as the winner until the final lap of the last race of the season, after a controversial ending to his season long fight with Hamilton.
The F1 have since confirmed that the decisions that led to Verstappen's win were down to 'human error' and now a different kind of error could still see the title go to the Mercedes driver.
German outlet Auto Motor und Sport and Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport have reported that Red Bull are in a 'material' breach of last season's budget cap, with claims Aston Martin had a 'minor' breach.
The $145 million cap was brought in for the first time last year and the accounts were submitted by the teams to the FIA, who are set to reveal on Wednesday if any of the teams have broken the rules.
A 'material breach' of the budget cap could carry a punishment up to, and including, expulsion from the championship, meaning all of Red Bulls' points would be removed.
Asked about the breaches, Team Principal Christian Horner said, "I’m not aware of any breaches. The accounts were submitted way back in March, so it’s been a long process with the FIA, and we’re in that process as we speak.
"Next week is when they declare the certificates so I think that certainly our submission was below the cap, and it’s down to the FIA, obviously, to follow their process, which they’re doing.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff explained the impact keeping within the wage cap had on his team, saying that they had to make 40 people redundant because of it.
"[The issue is] massively heavyweight. We are using used parts, we are not running what we would want to run, and we are not developing what we could be developing.
"We have made more than 40 people redundant who are dearly missed in our organisations. It was a huge, mammoth project to make the cap. I don’t know how many processes we had to restructure to be below the cap, and if someone has been not doing that or pushing the boundaries, every million [over the cap spent] is a massive disadvantage [for us].
"I find it funny that Christian says [Red Bull are below the cap] because they have been investigated for weeks and months, so maybe he doesn’t speak to his CFO [Chief Financial Officer].
"As a matter of fact, all of us have been investigated diligently. As far as we understand there’s a team in minor breach, which is more procedural, and another team that is fundamentally massively over."
Fans have recently been calling for last season's decision to be overturned, following the ending of the previous race of this season, at Monza.
The race finished behind the safety car, as it should have done in Abu Dhabi 40 weeks before, leading to Verstappen winning for the 11 time this year.
Controversy also reigned as the F3 championship was decided the same weekend at Monza, with the race result being brought back a lap following a crash, another option that would have seen Hamilton winning his eighth world title.
He may still be awarded it in somehow even more controversial circumstances.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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