Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff says Red Bull’s overspending of the budget cap is an ‘open secret’ in the paddock and it would be a ‘heavy’ issue if the team were found to be in breach of’ what says it will.
Reports emerged on Friday that Red Bull and Aston Martin were being investigated for financial breaches, with Red Bull Racing significantly over its budget cap.
Last year F1 introduced a budget cap to reduce the spending gap between the top teams and the backbenchers.
Red Bull Racing has denied exceeding the limit and team principal Christian Horner said on Friday he was pleased the count was under quota.
“It’s been weeks and months that they’ve been under investigation, so it’s funny for Christian to say that,” Wolff told Sky F1.
“Maybe he’s not talking to the chief financial officer.”
“We have all been vetted, and as far as we understand, there is a team with more minor procedural offenses and another team with more basic offences. It is an open secret in the paddock that is being investigated.”
FIA regulations state that penalties for cost caps range from fines to expulsion from the championship.
Toto Wolff has warned that the offense in 2021 will benefit the team in question, but he supports the FIA’s punishment for good reasons.
“I think we have a very solid governance set from the FIA,” Wolff said.
“A certificate of compliance will be issued and non-compliance will be forwarded to a cost cap adjudication panel with an independent judge who can choose between these penalties as appropriate.”
“But the important part is, if you’re over in 2021, you’re over in 2022, which means you’ll have an advantage in 2023.”
“If it is true that they have approved a lightweight chassis this year, it is possible that they will use it next year. This is a chain of events that could affect every championship.”
Some teams, such as Mercedes, have been forced to cut their annual budgets after the introduction of caps.
Toto Wolff said Mercedes had taken dramatic steps to ensure its costs were in compliance with regulations.
“It’s a pretty heavy weight,” Wolff said.
“We use second-hand parts, we don’t do what we want to do. We don’t develop what we can develop.”
“We have made more than 40 people redundant who will see a great loss in our organisation. It was a huge project to protect Cap.”
“I don’t know how many tens of millions it costs to rebuild and rework to get under the cap. If someone didn’t do it or pushed the limits, they would get a big penalty in the millions. It will happen.”
Category: F1 / mercedes / red bull