Toto Wolff gives first response to Red Bull fine with telling comment

F1 preview: A lap at the Mexican Grand Prix

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Toto Wolff has claimed Red Bull have suffered “reputational damage” as a result of breaking F1’s cost cap. Wolff stressed breaking the rules was “not on” due to transparency around F1.

He made the comments when asked by Martin Brundle whether other teams would consider breaking the cap because of the minor penalty. However, he hit back at the suggestion, claiming it would not be a “business case” due to the issues it could cause.

He said: “I think what you see is beyond a sporting penalty and financial fine, it’s also reputational damage. In a world of transparency and good governance, that’s just not on anymore. Compliance wise whatever team you are, you’re responsible for representing a brand, your employees, your partners.

“That’s why for us it wouldn’t be a business case.” Red Bull have been hit with a 10 per cent reduction in wind tunnel and CFD testing for next season.

This is likely to have a major impact on Max Verstappen’s title bid as Red Bull will have fewer opportunities to test upgrades. Team boss Christian Horner has suggested the penalty was a “draconian” measure which could have an impact of around half a second per lap.

Horner refused to apologise for breaching the cap and instead hit back at rival teams for damaging the team’s name. McLaren boss Zak Brown suggested Red Bull were “cheating” by breaking the cap in an open letter ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Speaking ahead of FP1 in Mexico, Horner explained: “I don’t feel we need to apologise. I think there are lessons to be learned. Everybody can learn from this. We’ve taken a very public pounding through the accusations that have been made by other teams. We’ve had our drivers booed at circuits.

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“The reputational damage from allegations has been significant. The time is now for that to stop and move on.” Red Bull were found guilty of a minor breach of the cost cap after the Japanese Grand Prix.

The FIA today revealed the title amount was £1.8 million ($2.2mil) but this drops to just £432,000 ($0.5mil) if a tax error was corrected. Wolff added: “I know how rigorous they were with us all throughout the year. That was a difficult process. When I’m seeing 13 positions that were wrong, with us it wasn’t the case.

“Overall, it’s good to see there’s a penalty whether we deem it too low or too high.”

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