UNITED KINGDOM: In what has been a turbulent week for F1 fans all over the world over the budget cap exceeding allegations raised against Redbull Racing and Aston Martin, Toto Wolff was the target of a misplaced online slander campaign by Redbull supporters.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, talking to BBC Sport ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, said, “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. It is of huge importance to demonstrate that these regulations are being policed, and I have no reason to believe otherwise. The FIA, particularly Mohammed bin Sulayem, the FIA president, 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.”
Responding to the comments from Toto Wolff and Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto, Redbull Racing Team Principal, Christian Horner, said that the ‘comments were inflammatory’ and demanded the source of information from his rival team principals.
He further added that it was not coincidental that such allegations were made ahead of a potentially historic weekend for his team.
This incited a majority of Red Bull supporters, who cast a shadow of suspicion and accused Toto Wolff of espionage. Interestingly, such allegations were raised against Mercedes during the Canadian GP weekend earlier in the season, where the FIA Interim Secretary General, Mrs. Shiela Ann Rao, was accused of showing favouritism towards her former-employer Mercedes F1 Team.
Several rival team principals were taken aback by Red Bull Racing’s upgrades to their 2022 challenger RB18. In an interview in the early stages of the championship, Ferrari F1 Team Principal Mattia Binotto remarked that he found Red Bull’s progress remarkable, to say the least, and openly questioned whether the competitor would meet the budget ceiling.
He was quoted as saying, “If there is a concern, it is how much Red Bull is developing considering the budget cap. But more than a concern, as I said, maybe it is a hope, because at some stage, Redbull will need to stop their development.”
Incidentally, the rumours of the alleged breach of the budget cap were first released by the Italian and German media outlets, further outlined by the Red Bull Racing plan to introduce a new lightweight chassis mid-season, which had sparked doubts over how they were planning to adhere to the budget.