Cashgate Scandal: Toto Wolff takes back threat he sent to the FIA

Toto Wolff believes that the reputational damage is significant, alongside the sporting and financial penalties.

With Red Bull being found guilty of a minor breach of the 2021 budget cap, the team have been fined $7m and given a 10% reduction in aerodynamic testing time for next year.

The reduction in testing time especially will hurt Red Bull, with the championship winners already set to receive less time than their rivals Ferrari and Mercedes due to their finishing order of the championship.

Toto Wolff had previously claimed that if the punishment was not harsh enough then his Mercedes team would not hesitate to breach the cap themselves in order to get back to winning ways, but he has now gone back on this suggestion, with the Austrian discussing the reputational damage for the breach as a major part of the punishment.

“I think what you see beyond the sporting penalty and the financial fine, it is also the reputational fine,” he said.

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“In a world of transparency and good governance, that is just not on anymore.

“Compliance-wise, whatever team you are, you are responsible for representing your brand, your employees, your sponsors.

“That is why, for us, it wouldn’t be a business case.”

There was concern throughout the paddock from other teams that Red Bull would get away with a fine, making a joke of the budget cap with the bigger teams able to just absorb a fine and reap the benefits of overspending the cap.

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Wolff has now credited the FIA for the thoroughness of their investigation, with many finding the rules difficult to interpret in the first year of these new regulations.

“They didn’t bat an eyelid, they just followed the process,” he explained.

“I know how rigorous they were with us all throughout the year, that was a difficult process.

“When I am seeing 13 positions that were wrong, with is that wasn’t the case.

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

Christian Horner has still refused to accept any wrongdoing from his team, instead choosing to suggest that his team misunderstood the rules, accepting the fine but not the blame.

Wolff will hope that his team can capitalise on the extra testing time that Mercedes will get over Red Bull and Ferrari next season, with the improvement in performance on the car that can be gained by extra testing time being invaluable in the Silver Arrows mission to return to the top.