Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver says budget cap penalty ‘indispensable’

The latest delay is the fourth time the FIA ​​has given teams a release date only to push it back

Lewis Hamilton says it is “vital” that appropriate penalties are imposed on any team that has breached Formula 1’s budget cap.

Hamilton said: “I like to think that if it’s being delayed, it’s because they’re taking it very seriously.

“It would be bad for the sport if measures were not taken, if there were a breach.”

Hamilton’s Mercedes team and Ferrari said at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix open secret that two teams broke the cost limit last season.

And it is expected within the sport that Red Bull and Aston Martin will find they were not compliant when the results are published in 2021.

Senior sources have told BBC Sport that if any team is found to have been breached last year, the breach is likely to be minor.

Red Bull team manager Christian Horner has it He insisted that he is “absolutely sure”. In Red Bull’s presentation to the FIA, he added: “We think we are comfortable within the cap.”

Hamilton, who was involved in a close championship battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen last year, said he had “confidence” in FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem to “do what is right for the sport”.

The seven-time champion said: “It is mandatory, for transparency, [that punishments are handed out].

“We have to continue to have transparency for the fans and the integrity of the sport. I know there’s a lot of conversations going on behind the scenes. Nobody really knows. There are different numbers and things being said here and there.”

According to him, if a group is breached “our values ​​and transparency would be in jeopardy [as a sport]”.

He added: “As a driver you’re always asking for updates. At Silverstone, we got our last update and that was it. [worth] almost 0.3 seconds. And I’m sure it cost less than a million. Maybe in time [working hours] it cost more.

“I remember after that I needed more updates, but I saw the update trucks keep coming to the other car [Red Bull]and I thought it would be hard to win the tournament if they keep bringing updates.

“That’s how it is in the development race. If we had another half a million to spend, we would be in a different position in the next few races, if we could have bought another floor, which we could easily do.

“But that’s not the name of the game and I’m grateful that our team is very demanding and enforces it. It has to be taken seriously.”

A new contract will come

Hamilton’s Mercedes contract expires at the end of the 2023 season and he gave his strongest indication yet ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix on Thursday that he will sign a new deal to stay in F1 from then on.

“I know what I want to do,” Hamilton said. “I plan to stay longer. No surprise how long. I plan to stay with Mercedes for the rest of my life. It’s more about figuring out what we’re going to do, what the timelines are, even beyond racing.”

“I want to build with Mercedes. It’s not just a car manufacturer. It has such a strong platform. It has places where we can have a really positive impact: in the environment, we can do a lot together.

“I want to be a part of that process beyond just winning championships, but right now we want to win championships, that’s the immediate focus.”

Verstappen, who beat Hamilton in a controversial final last year when the race director failed to properly follow the safety car at the end of the safety car, is on course to win his second title this season and could do so on Sunday.

But Hamilton said the prospect of the Dutchman starting a period of dominance, and trying to prevent that from happening, was not his motivation.

He said championing diversity in motorsport was one of the main reasons he wanted to take part in the race.

“It’s more where I’m at in life,” he said. “I’m doing great things outside of sports. I’m building things outside.

“I have my own foundation that I just started and it will take a lot of work. I can’t retire now because I’m starting to take turns helping the sport and creating a more open and inclusive environment and I have to stay to help.

“Also, I feel healthier than ever in terms of what I eat and how I prepare myself, and I love running.

“I’ve been doing it since I was five years old and that’s not going away and if I can still stay fit and focused, why should I stop?”