Monday, November 28, 2022
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Max Verstappen: Confusing crane, and now cost cap could scupper the shine off Red Bull driver’s feat

Max Verstappen became the second youngest double world champion on Sunday following Sebastian Vettel when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was given a time penalty that pushed him into the third position at Suzuka.

Max Verstappen claimed the chaos that followed the Japanese Grand Prix that saw him crowned Formula One world champion was “quite funny”, but the upcoming cost-cap ruling could erase smiles from smiles at the Red Bull garage.

The 25-year-old Dutchman was the second-youngest to win the doubles title on Sunday following Sebastian Vettel when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was given a time penalty that pushed him down to third in Suzuka.

The news was announced during the course of Verstappen’s television interview following the race However, even there was no certainty as to how many championship points reduced would be awarded since the race winner only completed the 29th of his 53 laps due to of weather conditions.

When it was established that the full points were awarded, Verstappen was ahead of teammates Sergio Perez and 114 ahead of Leclerc the latter with a maximum of 112 points to be had in the season’s final four races.

“This is crazy,” Verstappen declared. “I did not know I was the world champion. There was plenty of confusion however, I thought it was amusing.

“The first championship was very emotional and this time it feels very different, it feels even more beautiful because of the season we’ve had.”

The teams will be able to determine later on Monday whether or not they met the requirements of Formula One’s 2021 cost limit which could mean a negative on Red Bull.

The supreme body FIA established the budget cap of $145 million to help make racing more efficient.

Over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend earlier this month, speculation rumbled on the paddock that two of the teams competing had exceeded their budget limit. There was speculation that one of the teams included Red Bull.

The FIA considers any excess spending as a serious issue and offers a variety of sanctions that could lead to the maximum penalty of being expelled from the championship for any serious violation of the cap, possibly making it difficult for Verstappen to win titles.

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff has told Sky Sports F1 that the breach was “an open secret in the paddock”. An angry Red Bull boss Christian Horner dismissed the claims that it was his team “fictitious”.

A terrifying tractor

Horner’s fury sparked the possibility of verbal war between the two teams in Singapore and Japan, but they eventually joined in Japan to condemn a horrific incident in the rain that ripped the shine off Verstappen’s name.

Pierre Gasly narrowly missed hitting a crane that was on the track, despite the poor visibility, on the exact circuit that Jules Bianchi suffered a fatal accident in the same circumstances eight years before.

Gasly stated that Gasly said he “would be dead right now” in the event that he’d struck the vehicle. The vehicle was used to rescue Carlos Sainz’s mangled Ferrari.

“We lost Jules eight years ago in similar conditions,” said AlphaTauri’s Gasly. “I don’t understand how, in similar conditions, we can see a crane — not even in the gravel, on the racing line.”

The FIA promised to study the incident and its procedures regarding vehicles that are on the track following a chorus protests from both teams and drivers.

“While it is normal practice to recover cars under Safety Car and Red Flag conditions, due to the particular circumstances and also taking into account feedback from a number of drivers, the FIA has launched a thorough review of the events involving the deployment of recovery vehicles during the Japanese Grand Prix,” in an FIA statement.

Sainz declared: “I still don’t know the reason we continue to risk under these conditions, having an engine on the track. It was likely that you would red flag it already but why to take the risk?”

George Russell, a director of the Formula One Drivers Association, spoke on behalf of the entire grid.

“In our view, it’s pretty straightforward,” said the Mercedes driver.

“No tractor tracks. If you require an engine on track then red mark it.”

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