Toto Wolff explains FIA hope after Red Bull ‘important rule’ in F1

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Toto Wolff has labelled the cost cap one of the “most important” regulations in F1 after the dramatic allegations that Red Bull broke financial rules in 2021. According to widespread reports, the FIA is preparing to announce that Christian Horner’s team, along with Aston Martin, exceeded last year’s £114million limit.

Horner has so far dismissed the notion as ‘speculation’, but will be aware of the potential ramifications if his team is found to have transgressed. The FIA has no clearly defined penalties in place for breaking budget cap rules, but any breach of up to 5% of the cap is considered only a ‘minor’ violation.

That would suggest a simple financial penalty, but were the breach to exceed 5%, then Mercedes are likely to push hard for stronger sanctions. The 2021 world title race went down to the final Grand Prix of the season at Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen edged out Lewis Hamilton in highly controversial circumstances.

Wolff has made no secret of the fact he’s still smarting from what went down in the Yas Marina, with many fans also still questioning the credibility of the Dutchman being crowned world champion. And now the Austrian has fired shots at Red Bull over the alleged breach, and urged authorities to act.

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“The cost cap is probably the most important evolution of regulations to keep a level playing field to allow teams that haven’t got the full budget to catch up and to put a ceiling on the spending of the top teams,” Wolff told the BBC. “It is of huge importance for a demonstration that these regulations are policed and I have no reason to believe otherwise.”

And he also subtly suggested the new FIA President would have to adhere to his standards: “The FIA, particularly Mohammed [bin Sulayem], has shown a pretty robust stance on enforcing all kinds of regulations. So if we are talking now about something big, he will show the same integrity and leadership that he has done before.”

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In the extreme event of Verstappen being stripped of points, it would result in Hamilton being awarded an unprecedented eighth world title. But there could also be implications for this season, with teams utilising much of their 2021 budget to prepare for F1’s new era in this campaign.

As it stands, Verstappen could win a second successive world title this Sunday in Singapore. He currently leads Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 116 points in the standings, having notched five consecutive race wins.

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