Max Verstappen takes swipe at ‘hypocritical’ rivals after FIA findings

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Max Verstappen has hit back at Red Bull’s ‘hypocritical’ rivals who are pushing for the Constructors’ Championship leaders to receive severe punishment for breaching last year’s budget cap. The FIA announced last week that Red Bull were the only team in ‘minor’ breach of the £114million budget in place last year.

The Milton Keynes-based team reacted with “surprise” to the audit and are yet to decide whether or not to challenge the findings. But the news has caused a stir in the F1 paddock with teams and drivers wanting to see more than a simple slap on the wrist.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has pointed out that he feels any breach of last year’s budget is far from “minor” while McLaren CEO Zak Brown wrote a letter directed to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem accusing Red Bull of “cheating”. Now some drivers have stepped in calling for the FIA to act with Valtteri Bottas calling for a “strict and harsh penalty”.

Lewis Hamilton, who agonisingly missed out on winning his eighth world title last season, feels as though Red Bull’s budget cap breach certainly had an impact on Max Verstappen’s championship victory in 2021. But Verstappen has come out fighting, insisting all the noise coming from Red Bull’s rivals is “hypocritical”.

“Of course, that is mainly because we are doing well,” he said. “The competition is only trying to slow us down. All in all, that’s how F1 works.

“Everyone is a bit hypocritical. It will all be fine. We just have to focus on ourselves.” Red Bull were reportedly scheduled to hold a unique press conference on Friday to address the FIA’s audit into last year’s budget cap.

But that has since been cancelled with Red Bull yet to hold sit down talks with FIA president Sulayem. Horner is set to address the media for the first time since news broke of Red Bull’s breach on Saturday when he speaks in the team boss’ press conference.

And he will do so alongside McLaren boss Brown in what is set to be a tense atmosphere. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto will also be in the room, who has spoken out against Red Bull in the past.

But Verstappen has stuck to the party line by insisting Red Bull have nothing to fear as they still believe they were within the cap. “Nothing has been confirmed yet, but as a team we know how to deal with it,” he said.

“We are very clear about it: we think everything is fine on our side. That is why the case is still ongoing. All in all, it is not my job either. It’s something between the team and the FIA.”

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