Toto Wolff lashes out at Red Bull: “People” have “reputational” damage

Toto Wolff has hit out at Red Bull by claiming their reputations have suffered after the F1 cost cap scandal.
Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes
Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes

Red Bull won the 2022 constructors’ championship and saw Max Verstappen crowned drivers’ champion but the glory came amid news of a breach of the 2021 $145m budget.

The “minor” overspend, which team principal Christian Horner claimed had no impact on the team’s performance, resulted in a punishment from the FIA but, according to Wolff, the true damage is in the perception of Red Bull.

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“Yes, I think it’s okay,” Wolff said about Red Bull’s punishment to

“I think the biggest penalty was not the 10% [reduction in] wind tunnel time or the $7 million [fine].

“I think the biggest penalty was the reputational hit that the team got, and in a way it’s unfair for the Red Bull mother brand which is fantastic in their field.

“But the racing team has just been having such a reputational hit, and also the people.

“So I think nobody is kind of dare bringing it close to that anymore.”

Mercedes team principal Wolff was forced to wait until the F1 Sao Paulo Grand Prix for his team’s first and only victory of a poor 2022, which belonged to George Russell.

“We've been watching him grow up and go through the ranks,” Wolff said about Russell. 

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 with Gaetan Jego, Williams Racing Race Engineer. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 with Gaetan Jego, Williams Racing…

“He won every single category that he competed in. And now we're having a young man that will establish himself in Formula One and already won his first race. And I think he's on a very good trajectory.”

Wolff reflected on a W1 which suffered from porpoising then could not deliver Lewis Hamilton a chance to fight for an all-time record eighth championship: “It was a tough season because we saw right from the start that the car was not competitive. 

“Here it wasn't about one race. It was one of many. We saw that we really don’t understand where the other’s performance comes from. And then slowly but surely, we got on top of it and we had another setback, and we understood that better, and then another setback… That’s why it was so painful because it was not just a blip. 

“It wasn’t just one race which we knew from the last season how that could be. So, keeping the motivation and the energy together over the whole season was not trivial.”

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