‘It’s funny’: Toto Wolff sends Christian Horner message amid cheating scandal

Aston Martin and Red Bull are believed to have exceeded the budget cap in 2021, with full details expected on Wednesday.

The biggest controversy in the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1 might just be around the corner, with growing speculation that Aston Martin and unbelievably, Red Bull, exceeded the budget cap last season.

It’s believed that on Wednesday it will be officially revealed who kept below the budget cap last season and who didn’t, with the FIA to award certificates of approval to the sides who kept within the cap.

For those who don’t get a certificate, they’ll be facing a worrying wait to find out exactly how severe their punishment will be.

It’s believed that one team has fallen foul of a minor infringement, which involves spending up to $5 million over the budget; however, the other side are believed to be guilty of a major infringement of the cap, which involves exceeding the cap by over $5 million and beyond.

READ: ‘Not doing well’: Red Bull owner’s health raises alarm bells

If the reports are true, then it’s Red Bull who are in breach of the major infringement.

The ramifications of this are monumental, with potential punishments ranging from a fine to a points deduction, from the season in which it happened.

Considering Red Bull didn’t win the Constructors’ in 2021, the argument could be raised that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, given that Max Verstappen won the Drivers’ Championship in what could potentially be an illegal car.

All eyes will be on the sport to see how they handle it, with a number of teams having spoken out at just how severe this could be.

Article continues below

“We have submitted our 2021 reporting, we are in discussion with the FIA and we are awaiting certification,” an Aston Martin spokesman said.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has labelled it a “heavyweight issue” and is certain that penalties will be awarded accordingly.

The big question mark is, though, how big will the punishment be?

“Five million in the gray area – that’s a massively heavyweight issue,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told the Austrian broadcaster ORF.

“I do believe that something will happen. The only question is to what extent.

“But it’s up to the judges to decide. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes as the consequences affect three seasons at once.”

Sir Lewis Hamilton could still become an eight-time World Champion after all, with one of the potential punishments being a points deduction for the team in either championship.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is adamant that his side are “calm” over the rumours, and that the Austrians are simply “an easy team to point the finger at”.

“If I listened to every rumour, I wouldn’t sleep,” he said.

“We’re an easy team to point the finger at but we are calm.

“We must remember that these are just rumours and we are interested in the facts. It was the first year of the budget cap and I am aware that the results of the investigation will be published, but we are calm,” Horner added.

Wolff was, of course, told about what his rival said; something which came as no surprise to the Austrian.

The Silver Arrows leader seemingly thinks it’s just a matter of time until the rumours become concrete, with it not being a “secret to anyone”.

“It’s funny to hear that from Christian because they’ve been under investigation for more than a week or a month. He should be talking to his CFO,” said the Austrian.

“All of our reports have been scrutinised and we understand that one team is currently under investigation for a minor violation and the other for a major violation. It’s no secret to anyone in the paddock.”

Ferrari have also given their views on the potential situation that could see Red Bull excluded from the championship, with the effect of overspending in 2021 having a huge impact on 2022 and 2023.

“We regard this as a serious incident and look forward to an exemplary resolution of the situation from the FIA,” he said.

Whilst Haas don’t battle Red Bull, for them, Aston Martin gaining an unfair advantage, is massively influential.

The pair regularly battle this season, leaving Guenther Steiner wanting “at least a penalty” to be awarded.

“They say they understood some things of the regulation differently, so first of all they must clarify this aspect,” Haas boss Gunther Steiner said.

“I’m not saying they must be disqualified, but at least a penalty. But I do not know the elements in detail.”

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has shared his thoughts on the rumours regarding his side and it’s safe to say the Austrian isn’t happy.

Marko isn’t happy with how financial reports have potentially been leaked, with the ongoing rumours and speculation “damaging our reputation”.

READ: Breaking: 2022 Singapore Grand Prix to be delayed by over an hour as pitlane flooded

“There are discussions taking place in which certain points are being clarified,” he told Sky Deutschland.

“There are people listed who work in other companies – Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Red Bull Technology, Red Bull Powertrains. The only surprising thing is that this has been made public.

“The FIA says it does not know how it was possible that it became public, but it is damaging our reputation,” Marko insisted.