Toto Wolff on the appropriate penalty for budget cap breach

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Amid rumours that Red Bull breached the 2021 budget cap, Toto Wolff talks about the appropriate penalty and whether drivers should be penalized.

The controversy surrounding Red Bull’s alleged 2021 budget cap breach is not dying down.

While the FIA is expected to announce the official results of their assessment of the 2021 financial data submitted by all Formula 1 teams this Wednesday, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was asked what the appropriate penalty would be, if a breach is detected.

“So in terms of the penalties, there is a catalogue of penalties that the FIA needs to decide what’s appropriate or whether this goes to the cost cap adjudication panel, which is the governance and we have no say in this,” the Austrian said.

“We shouldn’t have an opinion on this either, we need to see what the outcome is and then one can comment.

“But again, all the stakeholders in the sport, all the teams that have complied to the regulations, the FIA, Formula 1, need to make sure that these regulations have teeth, because of the reasons of performance.

“You can gain a real competitive advantage [by breaching the budget cap].”

The big debate is whether a driver should be punished for the team’s dodgy finances. Toto Wolff says it’s a tricky issue, but a driver does benefit from the team’s breach of the budget cap.

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“I tell you, I don’t want to be in the shoes of judges. To judge on that, drivers driving their guts out in order to be on top and there are decisions that the team takes that they are not involved in.

“But still, at the end, you sit in a car that’s maybe on steroids. So it’s such a tough, tough call. I wouldn’t want to make a judgement call.

“And to be honest my thinking isn’t so far [ahead], it’s more about the principle of how is this going to pan out in the future.

“How robust are these regulations? How are they being enforced and policed? How is the governance process going to run?

“Because we don’t know when it goes to the adjudication panel how the judges will decide.

“Then it’s learning by doing, I think, for all of us,” Wolff concluded.

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