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Verstappen hits back at cost cap rumours: Keep your mouth shut

Following allegations from other teams that Red Bull have breached F1's budget cap, Max Verstappen suggests they should keep their counsel instead.

Max Verstappen says other teams should "keep their mouths shut" concerning allegations that Red Bull breached F1's budget cap in 2021. Reports in German and Italian media outlets earlier this week suggested that Red Bull and Aston Martin spent more than their permitted allowance of $145 million in 2021, with the FIA set to reveal each team's finances in the coming weeks after audits. In response to the reports, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff called any breach of the Formula 1 cost cap regulations a "heavyweight" offence , while Ferrari Sporting Director Laurent Mekies said there should be "far-reaching consequences" for any team that breaches it. Responding to the comments from Wolff and Mekies, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reacted angrily, calling on them to retract their accusations, and suggesting that Mercedes and Ferrari were using the issue as a smokescreen to detract from their own below-par performances this season. Asked after qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix whether it was frustrating to be caught in the middle of such allegations, Verstappen sounded a sanguine note. "I know where it [the speculation] comes from, so for me it’s okay," the Dutchman told media, including RacingNews365.com . Pressed on whether he felt confident that Red Bull had not breached any cost cap regulations, he replied: "What I hear from the team, yes [I'm confident]. "Of course, then other teams started to talk about it when they have no information and I find that a bit silly. Just keep your mouth shut."

Could Red Bull lose 2021 championship points?

According to F1 regulations, exceeding the budget cap by less than $5 million may be considered a 'minor violation' which may lead only to a fine for the offending teams. Any potential sanction is complicated by the fact that the FIA has not yet drawn up a clear list of penalties surrounding the budget cap, though possible punishments may include the docking of Drivers' or Constructors' Championship points. If Red Bull are retrospectively docked points earned during the 2021 season, such a sanction could have a significant bearing on the outcome of that year's World Championship. Verstappen snatched the 2021 Drivers' Championship after winning the season's final race in Abu Dhabi in contentious circumstances, passing title rival Lewis Hamilton on the last lap after regulations concerning lapped cars passing the Safety Car were not applied correctly.

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