George Russell demands strong response to Red Bull cheating

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have called for sanctions against Red Bull.

Mercedes driver George Russell has criticised Red Bull’s budget cap penalty, stating that it “didn’t fit the crime” and urged FIA officials to take more decisive action against teams found breaking the financial rules. 

Russell went so far as to suggest that Red Bull should face an even harsher penalty if they were to breach the budget cap again.

Amidst recent reports from indicating that three teams may have exceeded F1’s £105 million budget cap for the 2022 season, tensions are rising within the paddock. 

The FIA is expected to issue certificates of compliance to teams by the end of July, potentially exposing any constructor in breach of the regulations.

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Speaking ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, George Russell called for stricter penalties for rule violations, expressing dissatisfaction with Red Bull’s previous sanction. 

The team faced a £5.4 million fine and a 10 percent reduction in wind tunnel development for breaching the 2021 budget cap. 

However, this did not hinder Red Bull’s performance, as they have been dominant since the introduction of the new regulations, securing both Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships last year and winning every race in 2023.

“If anybody has breached any regulation, you want the punishment to represent the crime,” Russell stated. 

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“There were breaches last year, and clearly the punishment didn’t fit the crime. 

“We don’t want to be seeing that happen again, and if it’s a second-time offender, the punishment should be even greater than what perhaps is a fair punishment if it’s happened two years in a row.”

Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time champion and Russell’s teammate at Mercedes, echoed his sentiments, expressing concern over the lack of substantial penalties for rule violations. 

He suggested that teams may not be deterred if they receive only minor sanctions.

“It’s definitely a concern. I mean, there wasn’t really a big punishment last time. 

“There will be people that will probably go for it again and know they’re just going to get a slap on the wrist,” Hamilton added.

Despite the frustrations over the current penalties, both Russell and Hamilton expressed their trust in the FIA to address the issues and enforce the spending limits effectively.

“I trust the FIA, I think Mohammed is a great force there as well, and they won’t be letting anybody get away with something that shouldn’t have happened under their watch. 

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“I have faith in them,” Russell said, referring to the FIA’s Race Director, Michael Masi.

The concerns raised by the Mercedes drivers align with recent statements from F1 boss Stefano Domenicali, who also emphasised the need for sporting penalties in cases of rule infringements. 

Domenicali called for stricter enforcement across the sporting, technical, and financial regulations, ensuring that teams face appropriate consequences for any violations.