Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton says the FIA must avoid giving Red Bull a “slap on the wrist” for breaching the 2021 budget cap.
Following the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month, the FIA confirmed that Red Bull was guilty of a “minor” overspend of the $145 million cost cap that was installed last year.
Several parties have called for a strict punishment to be issued to the team, who is currently on course to win the Constructors’ Championship this year, having also won back-to-back Drivers’ titles with Max Verstappen.
Some have even suggested that Verstappen’s maiden title last year should be voided.
Hamilton says that F1 must steer clear from handing out a minor punishment, which would then invite other teams to exceed the cap going forward.
“I have my own opinion of what we did as a team and how we did it last year, and I’m really proud of that and believe in what we earned,” Hamilton said. “It doesn’t really change a huge amount.
“I do think the sport needs to do something about this in the future, otherwise, if they are relaxed with these rules then all of the teams will just go over.
“Spending millions more and then only having a slap on the wrist won’t be great for the sport – they might as well not have a cost cap in the future.”
Hamilton has backed F1 to weather the current cost cap storm, insisting that it must retain its values as it deals with the situation.
“I don’t think the sport is trying to make mistakes,” he said. “I think we will continue over the years to be coming up against things and hurdles.
“But I do think, when we talk about integrity, is how we navigate through those whilst keeping the core values, being transparent and being true to the values of what the sporting regulations are put there to be policed.
“It can be a confusing time for the fans and without the fans the sport is nothing. So I think we’ve got to hold onto those values.”