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Reputational consequences will put teams off from risking breaking the cost cap, says Toto Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal.
Red Bull’s penalty for breaking the cost cap in 2021 started a very public conversation. Red Bull got a $7 million fine and 10% reduction in car development. Media and fans were divided on the punishment, some saying it was too small and others saying it was fair.
However, in reality the punishment was not just the monetary fine that Red Bull incurred or the reduction in aero development; but the public shaming it was subject to. Online users labeled Red Bull as “cheaters” and that they got away with going over the cost cap limit.
Wolff commented on the risk of reputation consequences when breaking the cost cap saying:
“Beyond the sporting penalty and the financial penalty, which obviously resonates in the real world out there, there is a big reputational consequence,”
“And that is why I believe no team is going to put a foot wrong over the line, because you don’t want to have your partners and your team dragged into this space. We’re living in a transparent, compliant world. Everything needs governance, and the sport needs it. As a sport overall, this is the real achievement of the whole process.”
“I’m beyond the point now that I want to comment on what is being said there. For me, the most important outcome of this whole process is there is a penalty, whether it’s too small, right, or too big – difficult to judge.”
“It was a first, strong governance, strong policing, independent assessment. And then a fine. That wouldn’t have been the case in the past, I guess.”
The consequences to Red Bull’s reputation
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal, commented on what they are facing after the penalty was announced. He said:
“We’ve been on trial because of public accusations since Singapore. The numbers have been put out in the media that are miles out of reality. And the damage that does to the brand, to our partners, to our drivers, to our workforce, in an age where mental health is prevalent, we’re seeing significant issues within our workforce.
“We’re getting kids that are being bullied in playgrounds that are employees’ children, that is not right through fictitious allegations from other teams.
“You cannot go around just making that kind of allegation without any fact or substance. We absolutely are appalled at the behaviour of some of our competitors.”
Headline Image Credit: F1 Official Website