SINGAPORE — Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Formula 1 is facing a “heavy weight” challenge amid claims by Red Bull and Aston Martin to exceed the sport’s cost cap in 2021.
After several months of reviewing the scores of all 10 teams, the FIA is set to issue certificates to those who made it past the $145 million budget limit last year.
In an interview with Sky Sports following Friday’s practice at the Singapore Grand Prix, Wolf said this was a major issue for the sport’s governing body.
“He’s a heavyweight,” he said. “It’s a very heavy weight.
“We use used parts, we don’t use what we would like to use, we don’t develop what we could develop. We fired more than 40 people who are sorely lacking in our organization.
“It was a huge giant project to create the limit. I don’t know how many tens of millions we had to restructure and recycle to get below the limit. If someone didn’t do it or push the boundaries, every million is a huge loss.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner also spoke to Sky Sports in Singapore, saying the team’s reports are within budget and he is confident they are in line with the rules.
“Of course, we are not aware of any [breach]”The reports were submitted back in March,” Horner said. “It has been a long process with the FIA. We are in this process as we speak.
“They are following this process correctly and I think next week they will announce their certifications. Our application was below the limit and the FIA should be following their process, which they are currently doing.”
In response, Wolf added: “It’s funny that Christian says that, because they are being investigated for weeks and months. Maybe he’s not talking to his CFO.
“All of us have been thoroughly researched and it is our understanding that there is a team in [a] a minor violation that is more of a procedural nature, and another command that is mostly over. This is monitored, in the paddock it is no secret to anyone.
It’s a moot point as Max Verstappen narrowly missed out on Lewis Hamilton last year after an already controversial season finale in Abu Dhabi. However, Wolff said that going over the budget limit last season – in a year when all the teams were vying for the 2021 title at the same time, developing new cars for the new F1 rules – would have a major impact on this season and possibly on 2023 Rumors that Red Bull has already designed a lightweight chassis for next year are true.
“The important thing is that if you finish in 2021, you will finish in 2022,” he said. “That means you have an edge in 2023.
“If they did homologate the lightweight chassis this year, they could use it next year. This is a real cascade of events that can have an impact on all championships.
It is not yet clear what penalty teams will face if they are found to have exceeded the spending limit, although there are two sets of possible penalties depending on whether the overspending is within 5% of the original limit or higher.
Possible penalties for overruns of less than 5% include a public reprimand, point deductions (for both constructors and drivers), suspension from championship rounds, limitation of wind test capability, and lowering the next year’s cost cap. Possible penalties for overspending in excess of 5% include all of the above, as well as exclusion and suspension from championships.
“Even if it’s a so-called minor violation, less than 5%, you can spend 7 million more than everyone else, which means that if it’s a light punishment, we will all promote this 5% in the future,” Wolf said.
“You have to imagine, we have a $140 million pool. If you spend 5% or 10% more than everyone else, that’s many, many tenths of a second. per year, because we simply did not have the money to manufacture and install new parts. You’re fighting in a completely different league if you push the limit up.”