Formula 1: there is outrage on all sides – sport

After a three-year absence, the formula 1 Back in the Far East, and because it is the return to the mother of all night races in Singapore, before the 16th round of the World Championship and the possible crowning of Max Verstappen as world champion, it is necessary to take stock: The premier class of motorsport sees the floodlights at the end of the tunnel. The World Cup is geographically complete again, the boom should also spread to one of the important core markets. But there is already a huge threat of new trouble.

Singapore as the hub for Southeast Asia, this weekend is holding a kind of world economic summit with a frenetic side program. About 90 000 business people are according to the local newspaper New Straits Times in addition to the Grand Prix in the city, including some business titans – an interesting mixed crowd. Mice are mentioned here those who move to meetings, invitations, congresses and in-house exhibitions, mice like mice. That’s what Formula 1 is all about. Stefano Domenicali, former Ferrari team boss and former CEO of Lamborghini, wants to keep the organizers of the race happy despite the competition at the summit. Singapore set the standard 15 years ago to reconcile racing, business and show. Domenicali, who works for Hollywood conglomerate Liberty Media, is increasingly referring to his series as a “product” and likes to sell it under the “sports entertainment” category.

World Cup runner-up Charles Leclerc is at the forefront for the ninth time this season

Just this week, it became apparent how rewarding business in Asia is. The contract extension of Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo, the first Chinese driver in Formula 1, followed the announcement by the communications giant China Telecom that it would stream all World Championship races on its platform in the future. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff announced a sponsorship deal with the oil company Petronas from nearby Kuala Lumpur in 2026. This is unusual because the current contract has four years left anyway. Many want to participate in the upswing in top motorsport, and the international Sky broadcasting group has also extended its contracts thanks to the increasing number of subscribers.

The sporting prelude to perhaps the earliest title decision in 20 years was extremely telegenic on Saturday, influenced by a monsoon shower before qualifying. When the track was finally dry, World Championship leader Max Verstappen was twice clearly on course for pole position, but once he broke off his run and in the final lap his team had to stop him, otherwise there would no longer be the minimum amount of petrol in the tank at the end been. Red Bull Racing had miscalculated. So only starting position two remained. Instead, Charles Leclerc, who came second in the World Cup, is at the front on Sunday for the ninth time this season. Verstappen, who is currently leading the overall standings with a 116-point lead over the Monegasques, would need to be 138 points ahead after the race to defend the world title. After the qualifying result, it looks more like an adjournment, but anything is possible on this street circuit.

In addition to title fight, heat, humidity and chance of rain, that’s it budget cap the dominant topic in the paddock at Marina Bay. Next Wednesday, the external auditors commissioned by the world automotive association Fia want to disclose whether all ten racing teams kept to the spending limit of 148.6 million dollars last season. The limit applied for the first time last year, but the tried-and-tested patterns of behavior in Grand Prix racing were already effective at the premiere. Even before the numbers are published, it transpired that two racing teams probably overdid it. One a little, one massive. The names of the alleged sinners did not stay secret for long either, it is said to be Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing.

High fines, bans and point deductions are threatened

If this is confirmed, after the sporting scandal at the end of last season, there will be renewed trouble. If the auditors report misconduct, this must be evaluated by independent financial judges. There is no exact catalog of penalties, but in addition to high fines, there are also bans and point deductions. The latter also retrospectively. In extreme cases, this could result in a completely new result in the World Championship table, but it is unclear whether the drivers can also be penalized.

A new level of distrust in Formula 1 has already been reached. Accordingly, team bosses like Toto Wolff from Mercedes call for full hardness, they denounce distortion of competition and the hollowing out of the new rules. The Austrian doesn’t just see this as revenge for what happened in last year’s final, but as a matter of principle: whoever overdid it last season will have an advantage over three years of racing.

Formula 1: Christian Horner, head of Red Bull Racing, goes into defense mode.

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner goes into defensive mode.

(Photo: Memmler/Eibner/Imago)

There is outrage on all sides. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has already claimed damage to his reputation: “It’s defamatory.” He is confident that he has complied with all rules and boundaries. The British are bothered by the fact that the competition has apparently not only launched the information, but is also demanding penalties. Of course, those responsible at Ferrari and Mercedes did not name names. That doesn’t change much about Horner’s anger: “We want these statements to be retracted. It’s not acceptable to say something like that.” Incidentally, he has no illusions about the timing: “It’s no coincidence that it happens just when Max has his first chance for the title.”

The Women’s World Cup has come to an end in its second season

The auditors deal with many exceptions to the limit, so top salaries, marketing expenses and engines are counted separately. This is an enormous gray area in which cost centers can be moved back and forth because many teams are legally divided into different companies. Exceeding five percent, i.e. a little over seven million dollars, is only considered a “minor rule violation”. However, this sum can have a significant impact on improving lap times, so a racing team boss equates the budget violation with doping in other sports. The Fia’s rulers only admit that they noticed “unfounded speculation and conjecture” in Singapore. The procedure will be followed.

On the other hand, it was announced quite openly that the W Series is already in its second season financially at the end. Singapore could see the final appearance of the all-women’s championship as not even airfare to the planned two races in North America has been secured after the US investor bailed out.

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