Toto Wolff brushes off Red Bull budget cap defamation threat as ‘noise’

Michelle Foster
Christian Horner , Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto on the grid. Monza September 2022

F1 team bosses Christian Horner, Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto on the grid. Monza September 2022

Christian Horner’s threat to take legal action unless Mercedes and Ferrari withdraw comments made about Red Bull’s alleged budget cap breach is nothing but “noise”, says Toto Wolff.

It has been reported this coming Wednesday’s FIA report into the teams’ 2021 budgets will reveal two teams broke the cap – Aston Martin and Red Bull.

The latter are said to have done so significantly, new reports claiming by as much as “10 million dollars”.

Red Bull maintain their innocence, Horner even going as far as to threaten legal action against anyone who says they broke it.

“They are hugely defamatory,” said the Red Bull team boss. “We take umbrage to them. And one can only assume it’s not coincidence that this is the point where Max has his first strike at the World Championship.

“So unless there is a clear withdrawal of those statements, we will be taking it incredibly seriously and looking at what the options available to us are.”

Wolff has shrugged off his opposition’s threat.

Asked about Horner’s comments he said, quoted by GPFans: “I didn’t see that interview, maybe I should spend time watching it. That’s noise.

“At the end, there is a process. On Wednesday, there will be certificates of compliance issued or not and then if somebody has not complied, there is a process and governance that is in place.

“For me, I am 100 per cent sure the FIA will do the right thing, so everything else is all chatter until then.

“Plus, it is important the cost cap is being complied with. It is a cornerstone of the new regulations and I very much hope all of the teams have done that.”

The big question going around the paddock is what punishment could be handed out if Red Bull did exceed the cap by more than five per cent.

While anything under five per cent is considered a “minor” infringement, anything over that is a “material” one and could see the team stripped of Constructors’ or Drivers’ Championship points.

“I have no reason to doubt the FIA will not 100 per cent act on their own governance or their own regulations because they know how important it is going forward,” Wolff continued.

“We are all aware the regulations, be it technical, sporting and now financial, have to be regulated, policed in the right way and we just need to adhere.

“[I have] 100 per cent confidence in the process and in the FIA and that is why everything else is noise.”

The FIA’s findings will be released on Wednesday.

Read more: Helmut Marko labels leaked FIA budget cap report ‘defamatory’