British ex-F1 driver urges FIA not to give Max Verstappen’s title to Lewis Hamilton

Red Bull and Aston Martin are accused of going over the budget cap last season.

Former Formula 1 driver, Johnny Herbert, does not want to see the outcome of the 2021 championship reversed in Sir Lewis Hamilton’s favour.

Fans of Hamilton and Mercedes have been seething ever since December, when a controversial Safety Car restart led to a final lap overtake from Max Verstappen to claim his first title.

There were already calls for the FIA to give the title to the Briton, and those were strengthened last week when it emerged that Red Bull might have broken the financial regulations last season.

There were initially reports that they had gone over by more than five percent, putting them in material breach, but more recent news has emerged that it might be less.

READ: ‘Not surprised’: Max Verstappen lashes out at Lewis Hamilton fans

There is no evidence at the moment that the Austrian side have done anything wrong, and Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, is thought to be considering legal action against Mercedes and Ferrari, who were the leading accusers last weekend in Singapore.

One of the punishments for a material breach of the regulations is an exclusion from the world championship, but Herbert feels that this would do more harm than good to F1’s image.

“It’s a difficult thing to go back over last year and implement penalties for last season,” he told the F1 Nation Podcast.

However, if it transpires that rules were broken, the Briton urges the FIA to come down heavily on those in contravention of the $145 million budget cap last year.

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“I don’t think that would look good for Formula One, but what I think needs to be done – if it is found to be the case they have overspent – they’ve got to be big penalties coming their way for maybe even this season because you get so much advantage for spending the rumour of £5m over the top,” explained Herbert.

“It’s a massive amount of pace that you’re going to be able to get out of the car.

“Half a second or sixth-tenths of a second is a possibility and then it puts you in a better place for the following season. It’s a knock-on effect as well where there is obviously a big, big gain.

“So they’ve got to be hard on it because everybody – the teams included – have all agreed this is what we want to do for the future of Formula 1. 

“We want to make the budget cap lower, we all agreed to do that and if you go over the top then there are big penalties coming your way’ so hopefully that is the case.”

READ: Christian Horner admits Red Bull ruined Max Verstappen’s weekend

The FIA will hand out certificates of compliance to teams that have stayed within the budget cap on Wednesday.

For anyone who has overspent, the governing body will review what the overhang is, and whether there are any mitigating factors.

Therefore, punishments would likely be subject to a hearing.