Mercedes and Red Bull operations revealed as FIA clamp down on cost cap loophole

Mark Scott
Toto Wolff and Christian Horner at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull principal Christian Horner at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Both Mercedes and Red Bull have left an open door to the FIA in order to show they have not exploited a loophole in the cost cap regulations.

The FIA has recently issued a new technical directive called TD45, aimed at keeping all teams in check with regards to making sure IP gathered from non-F1 projects makes it across to world of F1 within the budget cap.

With Mercedes technical director James Allison being involved in INEOS’ America’s Cup sailing project in years gone by and Red Bull wizard Adrian Newey also working away from the F1 team, the spotlight has been on both outfits as well as plenty of other teams adopting the same approaches.

Mercedes adamant they have ‘nothing to hide’

But neither Mercedes nor Red Bull are concerned about any possible ramifications because both have stated they are fully compliant with the regulations.

“We have one entity, and that same entity does all the F1 work and does some of the non-F1 work, where America’s Cup is the biggest activity for some of our non-F1 customers,” Wolff said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“All is transparent. All the books are open. We haven’t created any subsidiaries, or any other companies, and there are no cross-shareholdings. All is on the table.

“In that respect, we have nothing to hide. Every detail of our non-F1 work is being put open to the FIA, and I hope we can be a role model to other teams.”

Wolff also believes other teams, as yet unnamed, have been exploiting this particular loophole, but has backed the FIA to get to the bottom of the matter.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he believed teams had exploited the loophole, Wolff said: “I think so. Yes.

“But the work that the FIA has put into auditing us was big work and big effort, and I have no doubt that they are going to do the same with the other teams. If someone has been cavalier or has cheated, then they’re going to find out.”

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Red Bull team also showing openness and transparency

Red Bull, who have fallen foul of the cost cap regulations in the past, are also clearly stating that they have nothing to hide from F1’s governing body.

“We’ve had a very constructive period with the FIA and, as an organisation now, we have a huge amount of process in place regarding compliance,” Horner said.

“As the regulations and things like TD45 firm up and become regulatory, it actually just creates more clarity.

“I think the problem in the early days is in the ambiguity of a brand-new set of regulations. As the regulations mature in many respects, it becomes more straightforward.”

“We haven’t had to make any changes as a result of TD45.

“Obviously all the business structures are very different. For example, Ferrari act as one company with the entire road car business. So, their submission is somewhat different to the teams that are just purely focused on F1.

“At Red Bull, we have Red Bull Racing, we have Red Bull Powertrains, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and we have Red Bull Advanced Services. So, there’s a series of companies that all have to interact with each other.

“But we’ve worked closely with the FIA, and they’ve done a very thorough job.”

The FIA has stepped up their policing of cost cap spending, with some teams receiving a questionnaire with over 100 queries about the specifics of their costs.

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