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Drivers keen not to be judge and jury on alleged F1 cost cap breaches

The likes of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have confidence in the FIA's handling of the cost cap and want to ensure the series is "fair/"

Formula 1 drivers, including World Champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, believe it it is not their place to judge on the alleged cost cap breaches - except that they want a "fair" competition between teams. The FIA's expected ruling on alleged cost cap breaches in F1 is now expected on Monday 10th October after an original deadline of Wednesday 5th was pushed back as the governing body continues to evaluate the financial submissions of the 10 teams. With allegations that two outfits have broken the cost cap of $145 million for 2021, drivers were asked in the build-up to the Japanese Grand Prix what their opinions on potential penalties should be for those who have broke the cap. And as two of the most experienced drivers in the history of Grand Prix racing, both Alonso and Vettel felt drivers should defer to the FIA.

Alonso and Vettel on cost cap

"It's a difficult topic, from our side the driver point of view is not really relevant here," explained Alonso when asked by media on potential penalties for breaching the cost cap. "We rely on our teams to really control everything they do, but I guess we all expect from from FIA to police as good as possible these things because we want to race in a fair environment. "I think it's a very difficult topic because a lot of things we need to make sure that are controlled, the budget cap is one thing, but there are many teams with different structures, with their own circuit in their own factories." Alonso's old rival Vettel echoed those thoughts. "Along the same lines [as Fernando]," the Aston Martin driver said. "We know when we are right and when we are wrong in being fair and giving enough space [on track.] "We try to obviously be fair most of the time and I think that's the same for any governance of the sport: to supply the fairness or to ensure the fairness is there across the team, across the year, across the season and across the sport. The FIA is in charge of that. We have to trust them. They're doing the job and if you fail to comply with the rules then there should be consequences. "I mean, it's a complicated, complex matter and we're not the best judges to understand but I think the art is to break it down. Make it simple and make it clear."

Russell and Leclerc weigh in

George Russell and Charles Leclerc - whose Mercedes and Ferrari team bosses have been vocal in their feelings on the alleged cost cap breaches, with the drivers agreeing with Vettel that appropriate punishment should be levied. "It's not my sort of duty to dive into those details and I'll just sit and wait and see what the results are on Monday," Russell explained. "But I just know from our experience within Mercedes, how hard the whole team have worked to stay within that cost cap. We know we can bring more performance to the table if we have more money to spend. It's as simple as that. "I trust in Mohammed [Ben Sulayem] and the FIA to to bring an appropriate punishment for anyone who's found guilty of the charges accused and it should be quite straightforward. "You'd expect the amount that's gone over should be the amount that's taken off for next year's budget and probably a bit more on top of that as a punishment." Leclerc had similar thoughts to Russell, but unlike the Briton did not talk about hypothetical penalties. "Speaking about ourselves, of course, if we have more to spend, you will go faster on track. "So if there's any team found guilty in that they shall be punished, then what's the punishment? "I'm not the one to decide. But for sure, they should be punished."

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