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Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1 integrity is at stake due to Red Bull overspending

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Lewis Hamilton claims Formula 1’s integrity will be lost if the FIA ​​fails to sanction violations of the sport’s cost cap.

The issue of spending rules – set at £114 million for 2021 and applicable to car developments and performance – has been the talk of the paddock since reports in Italy last week claimed Red Bull may have overspent, something they strongly believe denied.

Sportsmail has exclusively revealed that Max Verstappen’s first championship is not in danger of being stripped, but nonetheless there is great interest in the final spending figures, especially in the Mercedes garage.

Lewis Hamilton believes the integrity of Formula 1 as a sport will be jeopardized if Red Bull spent too much on their cars last year and are not penalized for exceeding the £114 million limit

Max Verstappen will not take his title in 2021 with Red Bull committing a minor foul

Max Verstappen will not take his title in 2021 with Red Bull committing a minor foul

An announcement on the bills is due on Wednesday but has been postponed by the FIA ​​to Monday and Hamilton is adamant that any offense over £114 million cannot go unpunished if the sport is to continue to be seen as open, fair and trustworthy. considered.

“I think it’s absolutely necessary, frankly, just for transparency,” said Hamilton.

“I think we need to continue to have transparency for the fans, for the integrity of the sport.

‘Of course there are a lot of conversations in the background. Nobody really knows. There are different numbers and different things being said here and there, so I expected those results — just like you — to come out yesterday.

“I would like to think that if it has been postponed, that is because it has been taken very seriously and I trust Mohammed (bin Sulayem) will take it seriously and do what is right for the sport I hope.

Lewis Hamilton (front) was controversially picked to the title by Verstappen last season

Lewis Hamilton (front) was controversially picked to the title by Verstappen last season

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has denied spending cap allegations against his team

“I think it would be bad for the sport if we don’t act if there is a violation.”

Hamilton deliberately did not mention Red Bull during his early morning press conference amid the ongoing budget cap circus, but is under no illusions about how much his title rival spent last year on upgrades last season.

In a thinly disguised swipe, Hamilton said: “It will question our values, the integrity of the sport.

“I remember last year as a driver, you were always asking for updates, updates, updates about things, whether it was fuel, whatever it is.

“And I remember in Silverstone when we got our last update and I remember it was almost three tenths, and I’m pretty sure it cost less than a million.

Hamilton laughs as he talks to media in paddock ahead of Japanese Grand Prix

Hamilton laughs as he talks to media in paddock ahead of Japanese Grand Prix

“But I remember I needed more updates after that – but when I saw trucks with updates arriving on the other car, thinking ‘jeez, it’s going to be hard to beat them in the championship if they keep bringing updates’.”

So, would more money for Mercedes, which gave Hamilton his latest upgrade at the British Grand Prix last season, really changed the complexion of the 2021 title race?

“If we had half a million to spend, we would have been in a different position at some of the next races if we had just bought another floor, which we could have easily done, but that’s not the name of the game.

“I’m grateful that our team is very strict given the way we work and they are doing a great job. So it has to be taken seriously, as I said.’

As for Verstappen, he had no interest in discussing it at all as questions were fired during his briefing.

Championship leader Max Verstappen didn't feel like it on Thursday

Championship leader Max Verstappen didn’t feel like it on Thursday

“Honestly, I’m not really into this sort of thing. It’s up to the teams and with the FIA ​​and I just have to focus on driving. There isn’t much more to say about that. I think we’ll find out on Monday.’

In other news, Hamilton revealed that his future at Mercedes, while there is no doubt, is still being ironed out.

Asked about team boss Toto Wolff’s comments on ‘five more years’, he said: ‘I haven’t spoken to him about his comments, but I can’t say that yet.

‘I’m feeling good. I love what I do. We have much work to do, much to achieve. So I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. I plan to stay longer. It’s just not certain how long.

“I plan to stay with Mercedes for the rest of my life, that’s for sure.”

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