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Wolff: F1 cost cap penalty "too much" for Red Bull, "too little" for Mercedes

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes the penalty Red Bull was hit with for breaching the cost cap is probably "too little" for Mercedes, "too much" for its rivals.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

It was announced today that Red Bull had signed an Accepted Breach Agreement with the governing body.

As a result, it has been docked 10% of its aero testing for 12 months from now and fined $7 million.

"I think as for any penalty, for us, it's too little," Wolff told Autosport. "For them, it will be too much."

Regarding the Red Bull penalties, Wolff added: "I think any reduction in windtunnel time is going to be detrimental. How detrimental is difficult to judge at this stage.

"I think in absolute terms, $7m is a lot of money. But maybe in the bigger scheme of things for Red Bull, considering the investment they do on the power unit side and on the team, it's not."

Wolff agreed that today's outcome will serve as a suitable deterrent for other teams, and help to ensure that the cost cap will be respected in future.

"I think that the sum of the penalties is a deterrent, the sporting penalty, and to a lesser degree, the financial fine.

"But reputational damage that is happening is probably the biggest thing, and no team will want to come anywhere near that, because obviously, we are living in a transparent and compliant world.

"Our shareholders or our partners demand compliance, and in that respect that's just not on anymore."

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Asked for his thoughts on Christian Horner's explanation of why Red Bull was over the cap, Wolff said: "Nine teams complied with the regulations and stayed below the cap. This is a sport of marginal gains, and everything else is just chatter. There's no mitigating factor."

Wolff praised the FIA for overseeing the cost cap process and ensuring that Red Bull received a stiff penalty, suggesting that the outcome showed that "nothing was brushed under the carpet".

"What I take as a positive is the strong governance," he added.

"Nothing was brushed under the carpet. The FIA stood by the process. And I think that although the administration has only been in place for 10 months, it's very encouraging to see things executed.

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"That's the really positive of the process. Mohammed [Ben Sulayem], with a strong group of individuals, Federico [Lodi, head of financial regs], Shaila Ann [Rao, interim secretary general for sport] and Nikolas [Tombazis, single-seater technical head], ensured that the assessment and the policing of the cost cap was robust. And that is what I take as a positive out of the whole process.

"What we need to tidy up is the minor and major breaches. I think a breach is a breach. And that's how it should be handled."

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