Wolff reveals “open secret” that Red Bull has been “investigated for months”

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Toto Wolff says a possible budget cap breach by Red Bull is a “heavyweight” issue, and adds Mercedes had to make “more than 40 people redundant” to make the cap.

The rumours of Red Bull’s 2021 budget cap breach are all over the media now. In a talk with Sky Sports F1, Toto Wolff said the implications of such a breach are “heavyweight”.

“That’s heavyweight, that’s massively heavyweight,” the Austrian said.

“We are using used parts, we are not running what we would want to run, and we are not developing what we could be developing.

“We have made more than 40 people redundant that are dearly missed in our organisations. It was a huge, mammoth project to make the cap.

“I don’t know how many tens of millions we had to restructure processes in order to be below the cap, and if someone has been not doing that or pushing the boundaries, every million [over the cap] is a massive disadvantage [for others].”

Earlier today, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said that he wasn’t “aware of any breaches”, but Toto says an investigation on Red Bull is “an open secret in the paddock”.


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“I find it funny that Christian says that, because it’s been weeks and months they are being investigated, so maybe he doesn’t speak to his CFO.

“All of us have been investigated diligently and as far as we understand, there’s a team in [a] minor breach, which is more procedural, and another team that is fundamentally massively over.

“That is being looked after, that’s an open secret in the paddock.”

Wolff adds that if the breach did happen, it has to be taken very seriously by the FIA.

“I think the governance in place is very solid, that the FIA have set up and you’re going to be issued a certificate of compliance.

“And then if you’re not compliant, it goes to the cost cap adjudication panel with independent judges, and they can then choose from these penalties, the appropriate ones.

“But the crucial part is that if you’ve been over in 2021, then you’ve been over in ’22. That means you have an advantage into ’23.



“If it’s true that [Red Bull] formulated a lightweight chassis this year, they may use it the next year. So it’s a really a cascade of events that can be influential in all of the three championships.”

The Austrian adds it is very difficult to catch up to a team that has surpassed the budget cap.

“You need to imagine that we have a pool of call it $140 million. If you’re spending five to 10%, more than everybody else, that’s many tenths of a second [in performance],” he said.

“We couldn’t reduce weight this year, which is probably double-digit over this year, because we simply didn’t have the money to produce the new parts and put them on the car. It wasn’t there. So you fighting totally differently.

“We have to carry a lot of the car and we couldn’t do the development as we wanted to, but we did want to do, as we know that there is performance on the table for this year, which we couldn’t bring and it is the same for Ferrari as far as I understand,” Wolff concluded.

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