Ferrari’s race director, Laurent Mekies, feels that the Formula 1 financial regulations are entering a critical period amid allegations that Red Bull and Aston Martin have broken them.
The first F1 budget cap was introduced last season, and all 10 teams were given a limit of $145 million that they could spend on car development, damage repairs, wind tunnel energy usage, and freight.
That was reduced ahead of this year to $140 million, but has since been reverted to the original figure after concerns were raised about inflation.
Earlier this season, Williams were given a fine for a procedural breach of the regulations when they failed to submit their paperwork in time.
Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, has suggested that one team has committed a minor overspend, while another is guilty of a material one.
A minor overspend occurs when a team goes over the limit by less than five percent, while an overspend of more than $7.25 million is considered a material breach.
Punishments for breaking the financial rules can vary from a fine, to a points deduction, suspension, or even exclusion from the championship.
It is therefore possible that Red Bull could be thrown out of the 2021 championship, potentially taking last season’s title way from Max Verstappen and handing it to Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Any contravention of the law is only rumoured at this stage, but if there has been a discrepancy, Mekies wants to see it dealt with properly.
“It is a very vital test for the cost cap, and if we don’t pass that test it’s probably game over, because the implications are huge,” he said, quoted by Planet F1.
The Frenchman is alarmed at the lack of FIA officials that are closely monitoring expenditure, because that can easily allow teams to slip through the net and gain an unfair advantage.
“Have we been worried? Yes,” explained Mekies.
“The worry comes from if you think about the level of constraints that have been imposed on the big teams, then you realise how much lap time there is going to be if you don’t strictly enforce it.
“Because we were massively constrained – therefore any million, any leak you allow in the budget cap will turn into a few tenths of a second on the car.”
Leniency with teams breaking the rules sets a dangerous precedent in the pinnacle of motorsport, so Mekies wants there to be a clear punishment for financial transgressions.
“This is pretty much the reason why we are banging on about transparency and severity,” he added.
“Because if it turns out to be something a team can bet on in order to gain a competitive advantage, especially in the framework of the very first instance of the budget cap being challenged, you need that amount of severity.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix on pole after a fantastic qualifying performance by the Monegasque.