F1 teams are bracing themselves for an announcement from the FIA which will reveal whether they have complied with the $145m spending limit introduced for 2021 or not. 

Cost cap talk dominated last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix amid paddock rumours that Red Bull and Aston Martin may have overspent last year. 

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“It is a very vital test for the cost cap,” Ferrari’s racing director Laurent Mekies said in Singapore. 

“And, as we said, if we don’t pass that test, it’s probably game over, because the implications are huge.”

There is a wide-ranging list of penalties for “minor” breaches including a public reprimand, fines, limitations on aerodynamic testing and a deduction of driver and/or constructor points. 

Meanwhile, “material” sporting penalties for an overspend greater than five percent ($7.25m) also include the possibility of exclusion and suspension from championships. 

Rather than focusing on potential punishments, Mekies believes it is more important that F1 establishes a clear understanding of the financial regulations. 

“Should we talk about penalties now? Probably not,” said Mekies. “I know it’s probably what the people in the grandstands want to see and we respect that. But in fact we are much earlier in the process than that.

“Probably an even more key aspect of it is, is there a breach? Do we agree on the entity of the breach and that, as a result, confirm the rule everybody is obeying?

“So, I think what is very much crucial now is that the FIA fully enforce rules as they are written now. And then after the penalties are a different matter.”

For Ferrari, there are no question marks over how the rules should be applied. 

“At least for us there is no question on what is the interpretation of what we have done because it’s been continuous discussions with the FIA - and I think that’s how the process is intended to be,” Mekies added. 

“Then after, of course, you have that final check that we are talking about now, that we are all waiting for. But in fact, we see very little room for surprises in the way that we have been discussing non-stop in the last two years with them.”

Mekies stressed that even a “minor” overspend could hand a team a big competitive advantage. 

“We take it very seriously, because this is a serious amount of lap time,” he explained. “Seven million will be like 70 engineers. Seventy engineers, they will give you a serious amount of lap-time. That's one example. 

“So, if you think about the power that these regulations have, these Financial Regulations have, it's probably overpowering both the Technical and Sporting Regulations at the same time if you think about the amount of lap time that is lying into those sort of numbers.”

Mekies added: “Pretty much one of the main reason why we are we are banging about transparency and severity because if it turns out to be something that a team can bet on in order to gain a competitive advantage then the whole system collapses, and this is why especially in the framework of the very first instance of the budget cap being challenged, you need that amount of severity.”