Hamilton says Red Bull cost cap breach ‘brings up emotion’ of F1 title loss

Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull’s breach of the F1 cost cap has brought up old wounds from his controversial title loss to Max Verstappen last season. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.

Mercedes driver Hamilton was on course to claim a record-breaking eighth world championship after dominating the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, only for a mishandled Safety Car period to enable Red Bull's Verstappen, on fresh tyres, to snatch the lead and title on the final lap of the race. 

Speaking on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Hamilton admitted painful memories of his agonising defeat have resurfaced in the wake of Red Bull being found guilty of a minor overspend of the $145m cap last year. 

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"I don't necessarily have much of an opinion because I'm not really focused on it," said the seven-time world champion. 

"It's happened in the past for me. I would say I'd moved on from last year, and of course this popping up at this point in the season definitely brings up emotion for many people, the fans, for everyone. For how it went down at the end of last year and then on top of that, this happened.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 leads Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B on the final lap of the
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 leads Max Verstappen (NLD) Red…

The FIA has proposed the terms of an ‘Accepted Breach Agreement’ to Red Bull, who were the only team found to exceeded the 2021 cost cap, as well as committing a procedural breach, along with Aston Martin. 

Red Bull have the choice of accepting they were in breach and taking the penalty deemed appropriate by the FIA’s Cost Cap Administration, or challenging the verdict. The latter would see the matter go before an adjudication panel of independent experts in financial law, who would decide whether the party are guilty and what penalty should be applied. 

If the ABA proposal is accepted by Red Bull, the team cannot be deducted points from either the constructors’ or drivers’ championship, or be hit with a future budget cap reduction. 

Rival teams believe such a breach should be met with severe punishment due to the lasting advantage gained, while Hamilton says the future of F1’s cost cap rests on the sanction issued to Red Bull. 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula…

"I'm not the one to be able to decide what that [punishment] is,” he added. 

"The fact is that breach affected the result of last year, but it also affects this year, because they would have taken on the same practice, most often perhaps into this season, there would have benefits from that moving on into this season and it rolls on.

"When these new rules come out, if you've got a head start it's very, very hard to close that gap. It just goes back to integrity, we've got to stick to the core values of what this sport is.

"We got a 25k fine for me having this nose ring in and a 50k fine for having that wing and put to dead last in the race, so I'm hopeful, I truly believe that I have to have belief in the FIA and the people that are leading this team, that they're going to make the right decisions. 

“What those are, everyone has an opinion on what should or should not happen, but I'm not giving it energy, I'm trying to win a race right now.”

A planned Red Bull press conference for Friday morning in Austin is no longer going ahead after FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem delayed a meeting with Christian Horner that was supposed to take place on Thursday evening in the COTA paddock.

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