There are growing suspicions in the F1 paddock that Red Bull and Aston Martin exceeded last year’s $145m cost cap that was introduced with the aim of improving sustainability and levelling the playing field. 

F1’s governing body the FIA is set to issue certificates of compliance with the 2021 financial regulations next week before the Japanese Grand Prix and said any violation of the budget cap would be “dealt with”. 

5 Tracks That F1 NEED to Bring Back

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner insisted he is “not aware” of any potential breach and expressed confidence in his team’s submission. 

It marks the latest storm facing F1 after the credibility of the world championship was called into question following the controversial end to last season. 

A mishandled Safety Car period altered the outcome of the 2021 championship and enabled Max Verstappen to overtake Lewis Hamilton to clinch his maiden world title on the last lap of the Abu Dhabi finale, leaving Mercedes aggrieved. 

Mercedes team principal Wolff has called on new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem to take a firm stance on any breach of the spending limit. 

"The cost cap is probably the most important evolution of regulations to keep a level playing field to allow teams that haven't got the full budget to catch up and to put a ceiling on the spending of the top teams,” Wolff told BBC Sport. 

"It is of huge importance for a demonstration that these regulations are policed and I have no reason to believe otherwise.

"The FIA, particularly Mohammed, has shown a pretty robust stance on enforcing all kinds of regulations. So if we are talking now about something big, he will show the same integrity and leadership that he has done before.”

In his first press conference since taking office, Ben Sulayem said "if there is any breach, there is no forgiveness in this” in relation to Hamilton’s no-show at the FIA’s end-of-season prize-giving gala in Paris last December.