Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the alleged financial regulations breach by one team is a “massively heavyweight” issue amid speculation Red Bull could face penalties.
RACER understands two teams have failed to abide by the new financial rules ahead of the FIA’s planned publication of certificates on Wednesday, with Red Bull and Aston Martin those under scrutiny. While it remains unclear by how far each team has transgressed, Wolff suggests one of the returns is a severe offense.
“That’s heavyweight, that’s massively heavyweight,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “We are using used parts — we are not running what we would want to run, we are not developing what we could be developing. We’ve made more than 40 people redundant that are dearly missed in our organization.
“It was a huge, mammoth project to make the cap. I don’t know how many tens of millions we had to restructure and reprocess to be below the cap. If someone has not been doing that, or pushing the boundaries, every million is a massive disadvantage.”
Made aware of Red Bull team principal’s Christian Horner’s (pictured at left, above, with Wolff) comments that he is “certainly not aware of any (breach)”, Wolff suggests he knows even more about the Red Bull situation.
“It’s funny that Christian says that, because it’s weeks and months that they are being investigated. 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 minor breach which is more procedural and another team that is fundamental and massively over. That is being looked after, that’s an open secret in the paddock.
“I think there’s a governance in place that is very solid that the FIA has set up. You’re going to be issued a certificate of compliance and then if you’re not compliant, then it goes to the Cost Cap Adjudication Panel with independent judges, and they can then choose from these penalties the appropriate one.
“But the crucial part is that if you’re over in 2021, you’re over in 2022. That means that you have an advantage into 2023. If it’s true they’ve homologated a lightweight chassis this year, they may use it next year. It’s a real cascade of events that can be influential in all the championships.”