Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez react to Cashgate claims, fire own accusations

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has accused Red Bull of having "cheated" on Max Verstappen's way to his 2021 title.

Newly crowned double World Champion Max Verstappen has continued to insist ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix that his side didn’t break the 2021 budget cap, despite the FIA having declared the Austrians guilty of a ‘minor’ breach.

The FIA’s announcement a day after he claimed his second world title most likely hampered the Dutchman’s and the team’s celebrations, as they now face more allegations of cheating than arguably ever before.

Following months of investigations into all the team’s financial reports from 2021, Red Bull were announced as the only side to breach the $145 million budget cap.

It obviously has thrown the legitimacy of Verstappen’s 2021 Drivers’ Championship into question, something that had already been raised following Michael Masi’s “manipulated” handling of the season finale.

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According to reports, the energy drink-owned team has exceeded the 2021 cap by around $1.8 million, an amount that former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has revealed would make a “big, big difference”.

Verstappen has a “strong belief” that his side are telling the truth, with the Austrians supposedly now deciding whether to accept the “accepted breach agreement” reportedly offered by the FIA.

“It’s something between the team and the FIA,” he added.

“From our side, we have a strong belief that we were in it [within the cost cap] so that’s why of course we are discussing with them about it to show what we think is right.

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“But at the end of the day it’s not up to me, I’ll just focus on the performance on track.”

Whilst 2021 was unbelievably tight, 2022 has been a cruise for the Constructors’ leaders, making Verstappen believe that the other teams are trying to be “hypocritical” to “slow us down”.

“I think it’s mainly because we have been doing well,” Verstappen said to Sky Sports.

“They tried to slow us down in any way possible.

“But at the end of the day, that’s how F1 works as well. You know everyone is, at the end of the day, a bit hypocritical and I’m fine with that. We just have to focus on our job.”

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Pérez spoke in a similar light, with the 32-year-old certain that Red Bull “are in line” with the cap.

Pérez also echoed Verstappen’s point that this is simply an attempt by the other sides to “take performance” away from the leading side, who have won all but four races this season.

“We believe we are in line [with the cost cap],” said the Mexican.

“We believe everything will come up in the right situation.

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“There’s always teams that want to take performance out of you – especially when you are winning. It’s part of the sport and this has been forever. It’s just a normal situation.

“At the end of the day facts will come out and people will see and understand the situation.”

Verstappen can actually match Sebastian Vettel’s and Michael Schumacher’s joint record of 13 wins in a season this weekend; however, should the Dutchman match or even eclipse the record, it’s highly likely to be spoken about after the Cashgate scandal.