Wednesday is set to be judgement day for Red Bull and Aston Martin, as the two teams are set to find out if they have indeed exceeded the 2021 budget cap.
Should the two be deemed as guilty of having exceeded last season’s budget, then it will go down as one of the biggest scandals in the history of the sport.
Aston Martin have remained somewhat quiet over the matter, whereas Red Bull have revealed that they are certain that they didn’t exceed the cap last season.
If Red Bull have exceeded the 2021 budget cap, then it could have huge ramifications on Max Verstappen’s 2021 Drivers’ Championship, let alone the legitimacy of it.
The FIA are set to be awarding team’s with certificates on Wednesday if they remained below the cap, meaning that those who exceeded the limit won’t receive an official certificate of approval.
Only then will we know who’s guilty and begin to question what an appropriate punishment would be.
The potential punishments range from a hefty fine to a reduction in wind tunnel time; however, a 2021 points deduction is also a possibility.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is trying to refrain from discussing the matter in detail, with the Americans boss believing that people are “innocent until proven guilty”.
The Italian is aware that if any team is found to have exceeded the budget cap, then it “will not be good” for the reputation of the championship.
Steiner is also concerned that “loopholes” might have been discovered by the guilty sides, something that the team principal is certain everybody needs to “understand”.
“I think there are always loopholes,” said Steiner.
“But I think we have to wait until Wednesday.
“First of all, I’m always of the opinion ‘innocent until proven guilty’. So I don’t want to accuse anybody to have done something while it’s not official because we are still speculating here.
“But if there is a breach, I would say we have to make sure we are informed if there were loopholes, what we think they are, that everybody understands them. And obviously loopholes means different opinions of regulation, so to clarify what that is.
“Also, going into the future, we know what you have to deal with and we need to make sure we are not watering down the budget cap for the future. That, I think, is the most important thing and I’m sure the President of the FIA will make sure that is happening.
“If we start to dilute this regulation it will not be good for the sport, in my opinion.
“First of all, we have to see what was done if there was something done which is not within the rules, and then make sure we are not watering down the rules to accommodate, or to create some…which could be interpreted as a loophole.
“But I’m sure the FIA will look after that because it’s in everybody’s interest that you’re not having that.”
The pressure really is on the FIA to award appropriate punishments to any team found guilty of having exceeded last season’s budget, something which comes at a time when teams faith in the FIA is at an all-time low.
Steiner is aware just how big a “test” it is for the FIA to be “stringent”, with the Haas boss wanting “what is written down” in the rulebook to be followed exactly as it’s written.
“Obviously it is a test,” added the Haas boss.
“If we are not obeying our own rules, we are not going anywhere.
“So we put this rule in place all together and that’s what needs to be respected. Therefore it is a test, a very important one, because if we don’t do it now, we will continue to try to avoid it.
“We need to be stringent on it, what is written down.”