Formula 1

Toto Wolff isn’t angry with the cost cap penalty to RedBull as media criticism acts as a strong deterrent for the future

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team principal and owner Toto Wolff has been quite calm about the penalty imposed on RedBull racing for breaching the cost cap limits in 2021. Specifically since that season finale was already very controversial for Mercedes in not following the required safety car guidelines. The reason for that, as explained by Wolff in a recent interview, is very important for other teams in their sponsorship and business battles outside of the sport itself.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit (RedBull racing) was handed a $7 million fine and had its aero development allowance cut back by 10% because it overspent by around $1.8 million last year. Tis was felt to be very shallow and quite easy for a team earing hundred of millions of dollars and basically winning a championship by spending over the budget. For the unaware, $1.8 million dollars is enough money to develop your car further and when it comes to a season like 2021 where the title was decided at the last race, all you needed was an upgrade at the last race.

Media aside, even Wolff was quite vocal about the penalty being too lenient but he immediately accepted that RedBull must’ve felt it was too harsh. Reflecting on his take at it, Wolff said that the main thing that would turn off teams from risking even a minor breach like this one would be the negative publicity brought around. For a team like RedBull who are continuously surrounded by these since 2021, it would have an even bigger effect.

“Beyond the sporting penalty and the financial penalty, which obviously resonates in the real world out there, there is a big reputational consequence, and that is why I believe no team is going to put a foot wrong over the line, because you don’t want to have your partners and your team dragged into this space. We’re living in a transparent, compliant world. Everything needs governance, and the sport needs it. As a sport overall, this is the real achievement of the whole process,” said Wolff.

RedBull’s cost cap breach definitely put them at a pedestal for all the wrong reasons and even the slightest of errors are being looked upon with a magnifying glass nowadays. For a sport like F1 and the era of technology, leaks are an even bigger risk especially when you are being gazed upon by every possible enthusiast. Team principal Christian Horner has been quite unhappy about the strains that the cost cap case has put on their staff – especially when words like ‘cheating’ have been discussed about.

“We’ve been on trial because of public accusations since Singapore,” said Horner recently. He further added, “The numbers have been put out in the media that are miles out of reality. And the damage that does to the brand, to our partners, to our drivers, to our workforce, in an age where mental health is prevalent, we’re seeing significant issues within our workforce. We’re getting kids that are being bullied in playgrounds that are employees’ children, that is not right through fictitious allegations from other teams. You cannot go around just making that kind of allegation without any fact or substance. We absolutely are appalled at the behavior of some of our competitors.”

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Prakhar K.

Editor-in-chief and 4-wheel fanatic

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