Lewis Hamilton says the FIA needs to be strict with its policing of any potential Red Bull breach of the budget cap, but reiterates that he is focused on trying to win a future championship rather than wanting to be awarded a retroactive one.
Red Bull was determined to have committed a minor overspend breach of the 2021 Financial Regulations by the FIA last week, but maintains it was within budget and is disputing the result. While negotiations are ongoing, some fans have called on the result of last year’s drivers’ championship to be changed after Max Verstappen pipped Hamilton to the title in controversial circumstances, but the seven-time world champion says he’s focused on the future.
“Well firstly, I love my fans, I love how passionate they are,” Hamilton said. “I’ve heard the things that have been said. I’m generally looking forward — I’m looking at how I can win another championship. I have my own opinion of what we did as a team and how we did it last year, and I’m really proud of that and believe in what we earned. It doesn’t really change a huge amount.
“I do think the sport needs to do something about this in the future, otherwise, if they are relaxed with these rules then all of the teams will just go over. Spending millions more and then only having a slap on the wrist won’t be great for the sport — they might as well not have a cost cap in the future.
“I don’t think the sport is trying to make mistakes. I think we will continue over the years to be coming up against things and hurdles but I do think, when we talk about integrity, is how we navigate through those while keeping the core values, being transparent and being true to the values of what the sporting regulations are put there to be policed. It can be a confusing time for the fans and without the fans the sport is nothing. So I think we’ve got to hold onto those values.”
Hamilton was clear not to name Red Bull at any time as Christian Horner’s team continues to push back against the accusations, but suggests the final outcome could impact how much trust people have in the sport.
“There’s nothing I can say that would be beneficial — it would be all an assumption of what may or may not happen, so I’m not giving it any energy. I’m focused on really continuing to try and gee up the team, really trying to turn this car around. Working on things that I can generally control.
“Like I’ve said in the past, I think the integrity of the sport is right now… Where the decisions will hopefully be made… I do believe that Mohammed (Ben Sulayem, FIA president) and his team will make the right decisions. I have to believe that — I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, naturally. Otherwise, I’m just focused on doing the best job I can. What they have done, is done.”