Sebastian Vettel makes ‘stupid’ claim as he speaks out on Max Verstappen punishment

The FIA could potentially strip Max Verstappen of his 2021 Drivers' Championship following Red Bull's 'minor' budget cap breach.

The build-up to this weekend’s United States Grand Prix has been taken over by Red Bull’s 2021 budget cap breach, as the paddock continues to grow restless with the FIA’s lack of urgency to award a penalty.

It was declared the day after the Japanese Grand Prix by the FIA that the Austrians had exceeded the 2021 budget cap of £114 million, with the governing body labelling it as a ‘minor’ breach.

Reports had first begun to circulate at the Singapore Grand Prix that Red Bull had exceeded the cap; however, it was finally confirmed within 24 hours of Max Verstappen claiming his second world title.

Since then not a lot has actually happened in regard to Red Bull’s breach, with a penalty yet to be decided on.

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This is most likely down to the fact that there are an extensive number of punishments that could be awarded, including: a fine, a resource reduction, a session ban, and even a 2021 points deduction.

The majority of teams and drivers want the Austrians to be punished heavily for their breach, which is rumoured to be around $1.8 million and as a result of an overspending on catering and potentially employee wages.

Some have, of course, argued that Verstappen should be stripped of his 2021 title, given that Red Bull “cheated”, the term used by McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in a letter to the FIA.

Former Red Bull driver and four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel has labelled this idea as a “bit stupid”, though, with the Dutchman clearly being the “champion of 2021”.

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“Yeah, I think on that stuff, the FIA should come out and make it, very clear, very quick or very soon, because obviously, that’s a bit stupid,” Vettel told the media.

“Maybe you have a point or not, but I think nobody doubts that he was a champion of ’21.”

The most recent update regarding the scandal is that the FIA have reportedly offered Red Bull an “accepted breach agreement”, which if the Austrians agree to, could see the front-running side awarded with simply a slap on the wrist.

The reason for all the speculation is that the FIA have kept a lot of the information surrounding Red Bull’s breach confidential, going against the paddock’s wish for the governing body to be honest and open.

Vettel highlighted the importance of the FIA being transparent, to reduce “people talking and speculating”.

“They can do what they want, they are the police,” added Vettel.

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“But I think we live in a time of age where transparency becomes more and more, not just a thing, but something that is becoming more normal and, I don’t think sports should be excluded from that.

“I think the best [thing] will be to be transparent so that everybody can see what happened.

“But otherwise, you just have a lot of people talking and speculating and I think we’re past that era.”