AUSTIN — Lewis Hamilton says Formula One might as well get rid of its cost cap if the FIA is unable to offer severe punishments to teams that overspend.
The FIA found Red Bull guilty of a minor overspend under last year’s £145 million cost cap and is now in the process of deciding on a suitable penalty.
A minor breach constitutes any overspend that is less than 5% ($7.25 million for last year) and comes with a range of possible penalties, including fines, docking of championship points, a reduction in next year’s cap for the team in question and a decrease in a team’s aero testing allowance.
Hamilton, who narrowly missed out on last year’s title to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, said the FIA needs to take the issue seriously.
“I have my own opinion of what we did as a team and how we did it last year, and I’m really proud of that and believe in what we earned,” he said. “It doesn’t really change a huge amount, but I do think the sport needs to do something about this in the future, otherwise, if they are relaxed with these rules then all of the teams will just go over.
“Spending millions more and then only having a slap on the wrist won’t be great for the sport — they might as well not have a cost cap in the future. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Hamilton said he trusts the FIA, headed up by its president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, will take appropriate action.
“Like I’ve said in the past, I think the integrity of the sport is right now,” he said. “Where the decisions will hopefully be made. I do believe that Mohammed and his team will make the right decisions.
“I have to believe that, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, naturally. Otherwise, I’m just focused on doing the best job I can. What they have done, is done.”