19% of Max Verstappen fans want Lewis Hamilton to be handed 2021 crown

Red Bull have been found guilty by the FIA of breaching the 2021 budget cap, but their punishment is yet to be confirmed.

Last Monday was one of the most highly anticipated days in the modern history of Formula 1, as the FIA announced if Red Bull and Aston Martin had in fact exceeded the 2021 budget cap, as had been reported.

To the paddock’s shock, Red Bull were deemed guilty by the FIA of having exceeded the first ever budget cap, something which has thrown the 2021 World Championship into yet further controversy.

Aston Martin were deemed to have not breached the budget cap but had made a procedural error which will likely result in a fine.

302 days following the completion of the 2021 championship and still its outcome is being debated, with Red Bull potentially having gained an unfair advantage.

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The budget cap was introduced last season in a bid to close the playing field both in terms of performance and financial capability, with every team being allowed to spend the same amount.

The cap of £114 million includes virtually everything to do with the cars, except the power unit.

Interestingly, it does also include factors such as catering, which is an area that the team reportedly exceeded.

A ‘minor’ breach of the budget cap was announced by the governing body, with Red Bull believed to have overspent by up to £1.8 million.

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It’s yet to be seen what areas Red Bull overspent on, with it seemingly likely that this could play a part on what punishment the FIA award.

Drivers, team principals and pundits have all called for Red Bull to be heavily punished, after what can technically be deemed as cheating; however, what punishment do the fans want to see awarded to the Austrians?

An online survey to find out that very thing was conducted by Opinium, an award-winning strategic insight agency.

The survey conducted saw 874 UK F1 fans asked what punishment should be awarded to Red Bull for breaching the cap and for Aston Martin’s procedural error.

The survey included both Sir Lewis Hamilton fans and supporters of 2021 World Champion Max Verstappen, with the consensus being for Aston Martin at least, that they deserve a points deduction from the 2021 Constructors’ Championship.

For Red Bull, the results are drastically different.

Overall, the survey can supply the data to suggest that a third of UK F1 fans want Verstappen to face a 2021 points deduction and Red Bull to face a Constructors’ Championship points deduction.

This would, of course, see Hamilton crowned an eight-time World Champion, with 51-percent of Hamilton fans used in the survey wanting Verstappen to face a deduction from his points total last season.

In regard to the UK Verstappen fans that took part, a third believe a public reprimand would be a suitable punishment, whereas just 19-percent think a Drivers’ Championship points deduction would be correct.

It is unknown when the penalties will be announced by the FIA; however, it’s believed a points deduction isn’t on the cards, despite it being what a third of UK fans want to see happen.

Cameron Hatter, sports and entertainment researcher at Opinium, concluded that the results show that the majority of UK fans want to see a points deduction awarded to the Austrians and Verstappen, for exceeding the cap and for essentially gaining an unfair advantage.

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“On the back of Monday’s announcement that both Red Bull and Aston Martin have been found to have broken the 2021 financial regulations, speculation is rife as to how they will be punished,” said Hatter.

“We can now see that overall, UK F1 fans believe that by breaking the rules, Red Bull should be docked both Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship points for the 2021 season – in turn, threatening the Max Verstappen’s first crown.

“It has also redrawn the battle lines following the 2021 season showdown in Abu Dhabi. It will come as no surprise that fans of Red Bull and Mercedes differ highly in how penalties should be handled; Red Bull fans favouring public reprimand (33%) and over half of Mercedes fans wanting to see points deducted, and Lewis crowned for the 8th time.”