A well-intended Twitter post today backfired massively on Red Bull as Formula 1 ‘fans’ on the platform lashed into Max Verstappen’s team calling them out as cheats.
“Where’s the CHEAT emoji?” was a common theme from responders among the insults and jibes.
All this in the wake of the FIA releasing their 2021 F1 Cost Cap audit result last week, which found that Red Bull overspent beyond the $145-million limit imposed for last year as per the rules governing expenditure by the sport’s ten teams.
In summary, it took over 300 days – since the controversial 2021 F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi – for these financial findings to be made public (notwithstanding the leaks last month) all stirred up now by the fact that no sentence has been meted out to Red Bull yet.
As it stands, the punishment the FIA will dish out for Red Bull could be anything from points deduction to fines, aka financial and related penalties for the years ahead. But as the F1 gentry jet into Texas for the Round 19 in Austin, next Sunday, the result of last year’s F1 World Championship still hangs in the balance.
Is Max 2021 World Champion? Will they deduct points or will it be hefty fines and penalties? Does the overspending last year, impact Red Bull’s current campaign? If yes, then how? The sport needs answers to far too many pressing questions.
Lack of any apparent clarity on the FIA process plus the delay serves to fuel the Mercedes brigade’s wrath – still stung by the manner in which Lewis Hamilton lost the title last year, they were robbed they say – now with Red Bull coming out ‘dirty’ with this the F1 Cost Cap bust, they are baying for blood, many branding them as cheats in comments on the Tweet:
Here is a taste of the toxicity the F1 Cost Cap breach has created among keyboard warriors and trolls:
DDKindleVille: “LOL I bet you cheats wish you hadn’t asked. You certainly didn’t get the response you thought you would Give the 2021 World Championship back to it’s rightful owner. Sir Lewis Hamilton.”
Andy G: Legal car on the inside gets overtaken by illegal car on the outside.”
Amando Stevens: “Cheating is a choice not a mistake.”
Mark Carr: “Verstappen on his way to securing his first legitimate Drivers World Championship.”
Brakebeat: “Probably cheating!”
Prashant Bhat: “Come on get over it .. they got away with cheating I understand but we must recognise the move was brilliant.. We will get them next season.. We still rise💜”
Cory Noll: “Red Bull overtakes the costcap in 2022.”
Tia: “Driver in doped car overtakes legal vehicle.
Msikkle: “Left to right … legal car within budget doing a normal move on a illegal car, over budget.”
That’s a small sample of comments, on the well-intended Red Bull Twitter post, that largely disses the team for their budget-busting infractions and, of course, opens the eternal wounds of Abu Dhabi for the Silver Arrows army and Hamilton supporters.
The hate (yes it is) will only continue to mount until the FIA announced the sentence, with both options of a points deduction for their title win last year which could mean Max is not 2021 F1 Champion and Lewis is.
While the other possible penalty option is to hit them in the pocket, which would be back to square one and all but destroy the concept of the F1 Cost Cap, no matter how noble and amazing the theory may have seemed at the time of conception.
Toto Wolff has been vocal on the matter since leaks emerged last month that Red Bull and Aston Martin had overspent: “If Red Bull had overspent by two million, they could close the matter by paying the FIA five times, therefore ten million. And in any case, it would not be fair because it would sanction the right to cheat by paying a fine.
“Mercedes have already talked about it and, if this were really the point of failure, Mercedes is ready to plan extra budget and related fine to recover performance and return to the top,” the Mercedes boss told Corriere dello Sport.
A further word of warning came from Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies, who said when leaks emerged last month: “It is a very vital test for the cost cap… if we don’t pass that test, it’s probably game over because the implications are huge.
“I think what is very much crucial now is that the FIA fully enforce rules as they are written now. And then after the penalties are a different matter,” explained the man from Maranello.
Meanwhile, on the matter, the FIA and their normally talkative president Mohammed Ben Sulayem have been silent since 10 October, on what comes next leaving it at this point on pause: “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 and further information will be communicated in compliance with the Regulations.”
It is now 307 days – and counting – since the 2021 season final at Yas Marina, and yet there is no finality on who is supposed to be that reigning F1 World Champion or if Red Bull did finish second in the constructors as points could be deducted.
While such scenarios are inconceivable, they are possible given the lack of transparency since the findings were made public. Each day we wait for the sentence Red Bull are to get, the less credible F1 becomes, pushing it into the realms of stage-managed results that the hugely popular but fakey WWE is in term of entertainment versus sport.
And, if this is how the FIA’s F1 Cost Cap audit remains into the future, this is how it is set to be, year after year: no F1 Champion in November at the end of each season because the title can only be officially ratified in October the following year!