Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has called for the sport’s governing body to be sanctioned over an alleged leak of sensitive financial information – which the governing body has firmly denied.
It was confirmed earlier this week that F1’s leading team Red Bull had breached the budget cap last year as Max Verstappen pipped Lewis Hamilton to the title in controversial fashion.
However, rumours that Red Bull had overspent had abounded around the paddock and the media at the Singapore Grand Prix more than a week earlier. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the matter was an “open secret” in F1 circles and called for a severe punishment to be meted out. In response, furious Red Bull team principal Christian Horner threatened legal action over what he regarded as defamatory comments.
READ MORE: Christian Horner openly admitted F1 teams would breach spending limits two years ago
And while Red Bull are under the spotlight following Monday’s news, questions are also being asked of the FIA, F1’s sanctioning body, over how details got into the public domain early.
The FIA has since issued a statement, insisting claims information was linked by members of their personnel are "baseless". But Schumacher, an F1 pundit in Germany, is among those calling for answers.
“The ladies and gentlemen of the FIA must now face a detailed investigation into how this is even possible," the former Williams and Jordan driver told German publication F1-Insider, via Racing 365.
“If Red Bull really did break the rules, it should be punished proportionately. But what the FIA has done is unacceptable.”
What should be the punishment for breaching the cost? Tell us in the comments section below.
Schumacher added: “Just imagine if the Ministry of Finance always kept certain companies up to date on the current state of investigations against their competitors. That would even be criminal.
“Everything must be transparently disclosed and in case of an offence, the ladies or gentlemen of the FIA must also be punished accordingly.”
There is further frustration with the FIA as while they finally confirmed that Red Bull had breached the cap, there was no concrete information on by how much and how they would be punished. Penalties range from a slap on the wrist to the docking of points, which in theory could see Verstappen lose his first world title.
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