Martin Brundle has suggested that Ferrari and Mercedes could be joining Red Bull in being investigated in the cost gap chaos that has engulfed Formula 1. Reports suggest Max Verstappen may lose his F1 crown from the 2021 season if Red Bull are found to have breached their budget cap, but Brundle suspects they are not the only manufacturer that could be dragged into trouble.
Red Bull are reportedly one of two teams who have been accused of breaching F1’s budget cap for 2021, which was capped at £130million ($145m), while strugglers Aston Martin are the other team to have been mentioned.
Mercedes and Ferrari both pushing to have the matter sorted out as soon as possible if there has been any wrongdoing, although the FIA have clarified that no team has been listed in that regard.
But Brundle believes that it is possible all three teams have “gamed” the system to try and adhere to the strict financial regulations and ensure they do not fall foul of the controversial system.
“There are so many things outside of that cost cap, I’d imagine trying to balance Ferrari and all they’ve got initially versus Red Bull, in an industrial estate in Milton Keynes, the logistics, McLaren have a massive facility. It’s a hugely complex area to balance for the teams,” he told Sky Sports F1.
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“I would be absolutely sure that they’re all gaming the system to an extent, they’re all playing the game to make it work where they can heighten costs.
“But Christian is adamant they thought they were under the limit, and depending on some interpretation, the FIA might think they’re a little bit over the limit, he doesn’t think it’s a serious issue. Obviously other team bosses do and I don’t think we can say anything more than that. I can only take these people at face value.”
Brundle, who described the cost gap as being one of the “cornerstones” for F1’s improvement in popularity and competition over the past 18 months, said that any team found to have breached the regulations should face a heavy punishment – but dismissed suggestions Verstappen should have his title taken away.
“It must be policed and policed heavily,” he added. “I can imagine there’s 100,000 living expenses that fall in grey areas that are arguable and they’re all gaming the system.
“If someone has gamed the system too much, then they’ll have to pay a heavy penalty for it. It cannot impact on last season, it would be nonsense to try and unravel all of that now.”