More than speed, more than victories, points earned and even the ultimate standing on both, the drivers’ as well as the constructors standings, Formula 1 is about rules. But that’s also true for every other competitive sport on the face of the earth.
What might become of the sport we so dearly love in the absence of rules? After all, what would be the point of it all- don’t you reckon?
But then, you cannot, in the glorious wake of shaking up the established order and creating your own records, breach what has been dictated or stipulated by the very authorities in whose hands rest the challenge of keeping the sport fair and just (for one and all).
Else, what would differentiate you from any vile perpetrator who likes to play by his own rules whilst completely disregarding the uniform standard set by the others?
When Red Bull breached the budget cap in the wake of developing what ultimately transpired to be a really high performing beast-of-a-machine, they broke a critical rule of the sport. They were found guilty of the 2021 financial regulations and resultantly, fined around 7 million (USD) and also suffered a time penalty of 10 percent reduction of the wind tunnel time.
Yet, here they are this year; together with Perez and Verstappen, they’ve managed to win every single Grand Prix of the season. The gains, for the rest, have been ever so minuscule, even if that means 2023 has been a year where Aston Martin are the real relegation.
However, none of what Red Bull did sat well with Mercedes, their arch rivals. How could it?
That being said, the following is what Mercedes drivers Sir Lewis Hamilton and his teammate, George Russell happened to say with regards to Red Bull’s clear breach of the cost cap subject:
Hamilton, speaking on the controversial matter, had clear views ahead of the forthcoming Hungarian Grand Prix making no bones about the fact that should Red Bull further breach the dictated terms with regards to the budget allocated to teams for developing the car, they “know they are just going to get a slap on the wrist”.
Meanwhile, Russell, Hamilton’s teammate didn’t withdraw from the chat and clearly mentioned that the penalties levied on Red Bull for the budget cap violation simply did not “fit the crime.”
Was that comment nasty or not is something that can be discussed for hours together. However, what’s important to note is that Christian Horner, not exactly a man of a few words did not abstain from the discussion in any way and was quick to react to both drivers from the Mercedes stable noting their attack. He’d reckon:
“Believe me, the hit that we’ve taken with the lack of wind tunnel time that we have compared to our competitors is a massive compromise. If wind tunnels don’t count then why don’t we just get rid of them? It’s always easy to throw shade when you’re not performing. It’s one of the things in F1 that will always continue to happen.”
Jumping in avid defence of his team, the following is what Horner noted in ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix:
“I’m just incredibly proud of the job that our team’s doing with the constraints and handicap that we have. To be performing at the level we have this year, to have achieved 11 straight victories… it’s been an outstanding achievement.”
So who do you think is actually at fault here- the Hamilton and Russell duo for pointing out the mistake made by the Red Bull contingent or the Max Verstappen-reliant outfit that is, quite clearly, breaking many a record on its path of leaving F1 astonished with some dizzying heights?