Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has issued an ultimatum to the FIA, suggesting that if Red Bull receives only a fine for their breach of the 2021 budget cap, Mercedes will be ready to do the same to recover their performance and return to the top.
Speaking to Corriere dello Sport, Wolff discussed the likely punishment for Red Bull’s budget cap breach, saying, “If Red Bull had overspent by two million, they could close the matter by paying the FIA five times, therefore ten million.” However, Wolff went on to explain that such a punishment would not be fair, as it would “sanction the right to cheat by paying a fine.”
Wolff’s comments come as the FIA has yet to announce any penalty for Red Bull’s breach, which has been a subject of controversy in the F1 community. Red Bull’s rival teams have called for a severe penalty, with some even suggesting a points deduction or a race ban.
Mercedes have also been impacted by the budget cap rules. However, Wolff suggested that Mercedes would be willing to pay the price to recover their performance. “Mercedes have already talked about it,” he said, “and, if this were really the point of failure, Mercedes is ready to plan extra budget and related fine to recover performance and return to the top.”
The FIA is yet to respond to Wolff’s ultimatum, and it remains to be seen what penalty Red Bull will face for their budget cap breach. However, Wolff’s comments show the seriousness of the issue and the potential impact it could have on the future of F1.