We see a lot of histrionics in Formula 1, particularly in the era of social media, but is there any validity to suggestions that Max Verstappen will lose his 2021 world title?
Verstappen’s maiden championship last season was already shrouded in controversy after Michael Masi’s bizarre Safety Car restart, but the Australian has since left the FIA.
That situation was seemingly resolved, and it looked as though F1 fans around the world were finally ready to move on from the saga in Abu Dhabi.
But conversations around last year’s championship cropped again when Red Bull were mentioned in a report that suggested two teams had overspent on last year’s budget cap.
Aston Martin were the other subjects of the accusations, as even more hysteria arose around Sir Lewis Hamilton’s defeat to Verstappen in December.
Initially, Red Bull were thought to have committed a material overspend, which constitutes an overhang of more than five percent, but this perception has since changed.
The FIA confirmed on Monday that the four-time champions were guilty of a minor breach of the financial regulations, and they are now deciding on a punishment.
The consequences for a minor breach are, naturally less severe than those attached to a material one, so an exclusion from the championship is a little unlikely at this stage.
However the possibility still remains that the governing body could deduct points from Verstappen’s total last season.
The champion took his crown by eight points from Hamilton, but there is no indication as to how many might be knocked off if that punishment is chosen.
Other possibilities for Red Bull are a fine and a public reprimand.
What punishment will be dished out is ultimately dependent on the circumstances of the breach, and whether there are any mitigating ones.
Rumours emerged after the confirmation of the breach that catering and sick pay were key factors, rather than just the development of the car.
So, will Verstappen lose his championship? Probably not, but let’s simply await the FIA’s final decision.