Toto Wolff is unimpressed with Williams’ rivals for “jumping on the bandwagon” to try to gain leeway with their capital expenditure and hopes a “solution for Williams” can be found.
Williams team boss James Vowles recently revealed that a lot of Williams’ infrastructure hasn’t been updated in almost two decades with the Briton asking for a bit of freedom in the team’s capital expenditure.
He raised Williams’ plight at July’s F1 Commission meeting but found his rival team bosses not only calling for more room for their teams but also for the $36m limit to be raised.
Toto Wolff: Some teams jumped on that bandwagon
“There are some elements that are 20 years out of date, which makes sense if you think through the history of this team,” said the new signing this season. “The investment it had was zero for around about 20 years and then an investment firm came through.
“Fundamentally, we’re in a situation where a lot of facilities were almost preserved from where they were 20 years ago. Composites is behind what I knew when I first joined the sport with a different team 20 years ago…”
Wolff was annoyed with others “jumped on that bandwagon” when Williams are actually a team in need.
“Why the CapEx discussion came up is that a team, Williams, said their infrastructure is sub-par and they wouldn’t be able to catch up with trivial things like machine equipment, and simulators, although simulators are less trivial things, but up to technical things like simulators,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.
“That was the starting point of all discussions.
“Then, as a consequence, some teams jumped on that bandwagon and said ‘Well actually, we would like to have a little bit more CapEx’.
“And that number went up from $50 million to $60 million, $70 million, $90 million, and suddenly, it was like free reign, and ‘Why don’t we change the CapEx levels?’
“But there is no reason to do that, it’s $36 million.”
He does, however, feel Williams should be given special dispensation given their aged equipment.
“One team I think we need to treat differently than all the others,” he continued.
“We came up with a list and some of the big teams said: ‘We don’t want a list, and if Williams get stuff, we want to have stuff’. And that was simply shut down in the last F1 Commission as it shouldn’t be the case.
“We need stability of regulations, on financial relations. And you need to be able to have a business plan that is valid and not a free rein every two years where we change the goalposts on CapEx.
“So that’s why this was the end of the CapEx discussion.”
“But,” he added, “maybe we will find a solution for Williams.”
F1’s financial regulations state that teams are allowed to spend $36 million over the course of a four-year period on CapEx improvements.