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Extra Mercedes spending would have changed F1 2021 title outcome

Hamilton narrowly lost out on last year’s F1 world title to Max Verstappen after a mishandled Safety Car period at the end of the controversial finale in Abu Dhabi. 

It followed a fierce season-long battle and intense development race between Mercedes and Red Bull amid the introduction of a new $145m spending limit. 

Mercedes’ last major upgrade arrived at the British Grand Prix in July. By contrast, Red Bull continued to bring new parts to their car throughout the remainder of the campaign. 

Red Bull’s spending was initially questioned by rivals last year but has come under further scrutiny amid paddock rumours the team may have breached last year’s cost cap.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton said the outcome of last season would have changed if Mercedes had spent an extra “300,000” on additional updates. 

“I remember last year in Silverstone we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it,” Hamilton told Sky ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. 

“But then we would see Red Bull every weekend or every other weekend bring in upgrades. They had, I think, at least four more upgrades from that point.

“If we had if we spent 300,000 on a new floor or an adapted wing it would have changed the outcome of the championship, naturally, because we would have been in better competition in the next race you had it on. 

“So I hope that that’s not the case, for the sport.”

FIA transparency ‘imperative’ for F1’s integrity 

It was anticipated that the FIA would reveal on Wednesday whether any team had broken the 2021 financial regulations, but F1’s governing body has now delayed publishing its findings until Monday. 

Hamilton stressed it is “imperative” for the the sport’s integrity that the FIA is transparent and takes a severe stance over any violations. 

“I think it’s imperative, honestly, just for transparency,” Hamilton explained. 

“I think we need to continue to have transparency for the fans, for the integrity of the sport. I don’t really know enough about it. I know obviously there’s lots of conversations that are going on in the background. No one truly knows.

“There’s different numbers and different things being said here and there, so I was expecting those results – like you – to come out yesterday.

“I would like to think that if it’s been delayed it’s because it’s been taken very seriously and I trust that Mohamed [Ben Sulayem, FIA president] is taking it seriously and will do what is right for the sport, I hope.

“I think it would be bad for the sport if action wasn’t taken if there was a breach, but I don’t know if there is so I’ll wait just as you will.”

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