Max Verstappen rocked by fresh F1 scandal after bombshell findings

Max Verstappen, pictured here celebrating with girlfriend Kelly Piquet after winning the 2022 world title.
Max Verstappen celebrates with girlfriend Kelly Piquet after winning the 2022 world title. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen's highly controversial world title from 2021 has been plagued by more scandal after the FIA announced on Monday that Red Bull breached last year's cost cap rules.

Verstappen was crowned F1 world champion amid major controversy last year after he narrowly edged Lewis Hamilton in the final race in Abu Dhabi.

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A late change to the safety car procedures led to a last lap overtake and allowed Verstappen to claim his maiden F1 championship.

However the decision to change the rules was widely condemned and eventually led to race director Michael Masi losing his position.

If that controversy wasn't enough, the saga has taken on a whole new twist after Red Bull were found to be in procedural breach over cost cap rules.

The FIA said Red Bull breached last year's cost cap rules with a 'minor overspend' and risk a fine and unspecified 'minor sporting penalties'.

The FIA also reported that Aston Martin were considered to have committed a procedural breach.

Williams settled a previously reported procedural breach in May with a $25,000 fine. The other seven teams were in the clear.

"The FIA Cost Cap Administration is currently determining the appropriate course of action to be taken under the financial regulations with respect to Aston Martin and Red Bull," FIA said.

Max Verstappen, pictured here with the trophy after winning the F1 world title in 2021.
Max Verstappen celebrates with the trophy after winning the F1 world title in 2021. (Photo by Xinhua via Getty Images)

Breaches can attract a range of penalties from public reprimands and fines to a deduction of championship points and even exclusion from the championship in the case of a major overspend.

Red Bull noted the findings "with surprise and disappointment".

They said their 2021 submission was below the cost cap limit and they would consider all options while following the FIA process.

"We need to carefully review the FIA's findings as our belief remains that the relevant costs are under the 2021 cost cap amount," they added.

The spending cap was PS114million ($A200m). Being in breach by less than five per cent, which equates to PS5.7m ($A10m), is regarded as a "minor" offence likely to be dealt with by a fine.

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Hamilton said last week if Mercedes had been able to spend a mere $US300,000 ($A475,000) extra "it would have changed the outcome of the championship".

“I remember last year as a driver, you’re always asking for updates - updates, updates, updates - whether it‘s fuel or whatever it is," he said.

“I remember in Silverstone we got our last update. I remember that was almost 0.3 seconds … and I’m pretty certain it cost less than $1 million.

“But I remember after that needing more updates but then seeing trucks from [Red Bull Racing] of updates continuing to arrive on the other car and thinking, ‘Jeez, it’s going to be hard to beat them in the championship if they keep bringing updates’."

Lewis Hamilton, pictured here after Max Verstappen was crowned F1 world champion in 2021.
Lewis Hamilton looks on after Max Verstappen was crowned F1 world champion in 2021. (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)

The regulations were introduced last year to rein in runaway spending and level the playing field.

Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull's main rivals, had both said any breach would bring carry-over benefits for this season and next, and the implications were huge and had to be addressed.

Verstappen won his second world title amid more controversy on Sunday after the Japanese Grand Prix was plagued by poor weather.

Race officials decided to award Verstappen full points despite only 28 laps being completed at Suzuka, before the Dutch driver was confirmed as world champion when nearest rival Charles Leclerc was hit with a five-second penalty after the race.

with agencies

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