Toto Wolff warns FIA of legal action ahead of Monday’s Cashgate verdict

The FIA are set to hand out certificates of compliance on Monday.

Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has indicated that it is entirely possible the cost cap debacle will end up being settled in court.

The FIA introduced financial regulations last season, prohibiting the teams from spending any more than $145 million on their car, as well as development for this year under in preparation for the new technical regulations.

The governing body required all teams to keep a record of their outgoings, and submit their files for review by a certain date.

Williams missed that deadline, so they were fined for a procedural breach, but it has now emerged that Red Bull and Aston Martin may be facing harsher sanctions.

READ: Lewis Hamilton backtracks on previous claim

Auto Motor und Sport, a German publication, published a report that suggested that those two teams had exceeded the budget limit last campaign, the latter by as much as $10 million.

One of the possible repercussions for this is an exclusion from the championship season in question, meaning that there is a slim chance Max Verstappen could lose his title to Sir Lewis Hamilton.

More recent indications are that the Austrian side did not over the five percent threshold, so would only be in for one of the minor punishments if they are found guilty.

There is, as yet, no evidence of any wrongdoing by anyone, but if the governing body finds any, they will need to decide on what the consequences should be.

Article continues below

Hamilton called for transparency ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix after the FIA pushed their decision back until next week, and depending on any arbitration, this could drag out a while.

“If it doesn’t come to the settlement agreement, because either the team doesn’t want to do it, or the FIA thinks it needs to go to the Cost Cap Adjudication Panel, then there is a group of judges, independent judges, that are going to look at the regulations and the case and come to a conclusion whether they should be penalised or not,” explained Wolff.

“If the team is not happy with the outcome, then you can still go to the ICA and appeal there, so it’s a lengthy process, but I think super robust in terms of the governance.”

The Austrian trusts Mohammed ben Sulayem and his team to approach the situation with the necessary assiduity.

READ: Toto Wolff makes bold Lewis Hamilton prediction despite 2021 ‘robbery’

“I have zero doubt that this is going to be handled in the right way and transparent – contrary to what we had in the past sometimes,” added Wolff.

“Independent lawyers, maybe also judges, but people that have no involvement in Formula One, people that have been brought forward as top in their league.”

Hamilton indicated on Thursday that, if Mercedes had spent another 300k last year, he might well have been crowned champion.