Wednesday is set to be one of the biggest days in the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1 for all the wrong reasons, as it will finally be revealed if Red Bull and Aston Martin did indeed exceed the 2021 budget cap, in what will become one of the most controversial scandals ever, if true.
It has been widely reported that the Constructors’ Leaders are to be announced as guilty of having exceeded the £114 million budget on Wednesday, with the FIA set to offer out certificates to the teams who kept below the cap.
According to reports, Red Bull have majorly exceeded the cap, something which will throw the legitimacy of Max Verstappen’s 2021 Drivers’ Championship into question.
Red Bull’s and Aston Martin’s punishment could range from a fine to a reduction in wind tunnel time; however, a points deduction from 2021 is also a possibility.
Mercedes and Ferrari are known to be furious at the revelation and have hit out at Red Bull.
Both Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto have expressed their belief that the FIA will punish those guilty appropriately, should they not, though, then the Mercedes boss is already looking into changing his plans.
Wolff was set to miss this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix to “survive” the extreme F1 schedule; however, he’s revealed to PA news agency that if the punishment isn’t heavy enough, then the Austrian will travel to Suzuka.
The Silver Arrows team principal hasn’t missed a race since 2019 and has only missed two in total across the last nine years.
Wolff brushed off claims from Christian Horner that the Red Bull boss was considering legal action against Wolff, after discussing his thoughts on ‘cashgate’.
Next season will, of course, be the biggest season in the history of F1, with the pinnacle of motorsport set for 24 races from 2023.
The 50-year-old insisted that he will “skip” some races next season, with Mercedes looking into giving every employee some time off throughout the year.
“I will start to skip a few races. The whole team needs to look at it,” Wolff explained to PA news agency.
“It is not sustainable for anyone to do 24 races. The drivers have to, but we start on Monday in the office and go through until the end of the week. We need to find a solution, and I think the race team will skip a few races every year in order to survive.
“There are a few individuals that can take over some of my tasks. Not physically being at the race meeting doesn’t mean that I am not at the race. I have a full intercom setup. There is a race support room at the factory, and I will be part of every single debriefing. I just won’t be there physically.”
The Singapore GP ended up being a nightmare for the reigning Constructors’ Champions, as George Russell failed to score points and Sir Lewis Hamilton finished ninth after crashing halfway through the race.
Despite crashing when battling for third, Wolff remains “absolutely certain” that the seven-time World Champion will add an eighth title to his name.
The 37-year-old was once again a hot topic for Wolff, who was asked by reporters about the Mercedes driver’s current contract situation.
Hamilton’s deal is set to expire at the end of next season; however, Wolff revealed that he has “no doubt” Hamilton will sign a contract extension.
“I am absolutely certain that Lewis can win the eighth world title with us,” added Wolff.
“He is not going to go elsewhere, and if we can provide a car that is competitive and he can fight for wins, he is going to win more titles,” added Wolff.
“For him retirement, is still far away. But he asks himself, ‘am I still happy with my performances?’ And once he comes to the conclusion that he is not, he will be the first one to say that is it.
“But I have no doubt that we will be extending. The science today can make sports people, if they are disciplined, go much longer than in the past.
“Look at Fernando Alonso. He is 41, and he is still mega so no doubt, there are many years left in Lewis.”