Lewis Hamilton has claimed Mercedes would have won the 2021 title if they had as many upgrades as Red Bull last season. The seven-times champion claimed Red Bull introduced new parts to their car in the heat of the championship battle almost “every weekend” while the Silver Arrows could not.
However, Hamilton stressed if Mercedes had done the same it would have “changed the outcome of the championship”. It comes after Red Bull have been accused of breaching F1’s strict budget cap regulations and are currently being investigated by the FIA.
Hamilton said to Sky Sports at the Japanese Grand Prix: “It’s not something I haven’t been thinking about, 2021 during this season. I don’t know enough about it, obviously there’s whispers about all these different things. I can’t say anything really.
“But what I can say is last year in Silverstone we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it. But then we would see Red Bull every weekend, or every other weekend, bringing upgrades. They had I think at least four more upgrades from that point.
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“If we had spent £300,000 on a new floor or adapted wing it would have changed the outcome of the championship naturally. We would have been in better competition at the next race. I hope that’s not the case.”
German newspaper Auto Motor und Sport had reported Red Bull exceeded the cap by around £9million ($10mil). This would have put the team in violation of a five per cent threshold for a major penalty meaning Red Bull could have been hit with heavy penalties.
However, it is now understood this figure was overblown with the true number thought to be a lot lower. Journalist Alexandre Braeckman, per F1i, revealed the FIA initially found Red Bull to have exceeded the budget cap allowance by a massive £10.5million ($12million).
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He said that after an appeal and a further review this was reduced to just £131,000 ($150,000). But, the FIA insists their findings will not be released until next Monday (October 10) after a delay on Wednesday.
Speaking on the issue ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton revealed he still had confidence in the FIA to resolve the issue.
He added: “I do believe that Mohammed (Ben Sulayem) and the FIA would do what is right with whatever they find out. That’s what we have to have faith in.”