Formula One's budget cap row: Toto Wolff may reverse his decision not to travel to Japan

Toto Wolff - Formula One's budget cap row: Toto Wolff may reverse his decision not to travel to Japan - Clive Mason/Getty Images
Toto Wolff - Formula One's budget cap row: Toto Wolff may reverse his decision not to travel to Japan - Clive Mason/Getty Images

Toto Wolff may reverse his decision not to travel to Japan this weekend depending on developments in Formula One’s budget cap row.

The FIA, world motorsport’s governing body, is due to issue certificates on Wednesday to those teams who have complied with last season's $145 million (£114m) cap.

Red Bull are thought to be one of two teams who may have breached the cap, which would be hugely contentious given the manner in which Max Verstappen claimed his maiden drivers’ title in Abu Dhabi last December.

If Red Bull are found to be in breach, an independent adjudication panel would have to determine a penalty, which could be purely financial or could include constructors’ or drivers’ championship points.

Red Bull have strongly denied breaching the cap, insisting in Singapore over the weekend they were still in dialogue with the FIA over their submission and demanding to know where rivals Mercedes and Ferrari were getting their information from.

“We’re absolutely confident in our submission,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said, adding he was not in the least bit nervous about Wednesday.

“Our audit was signed off by our auditors who are one of the big three [Deloitte, Ernst and Young or KPMG]. We believe we are comfortably within the cap.”

Red Bull Racing's team chief Christian Horner - Formula One's budget cap row: Toto Wolff may reverse his decision not to travel to Japan - AFP
Red Bull Racing's team chief Christian Horner - Formula One's budget cap row: Toto Wolff may reverse his decision not to travel to Japan - AFP

The row has become toxic with Horner more than once threatening to sue Wolff over comments the Austrian made in the paddock last weekend suggesting Red Bull might have breached the cap.

And given the high stakes it is thought Wolff could now reverse his decision not to travel to Suzuka, where he had planned to skip his first race since 2019 and only his second in nine years.

At the moment Wolff is still planning on staying at home but it is understood that could change depending on Wednesday's developments.

Speaking more generally about the relentless nature of the calendar, which expands to a record 24 races next season, Wolff said he was planning to start missing a few more events in order to stay fresh. "I will start to skip a few races,” said the 50 year-old. “The whole team needs to look at it.

"It is not sustainable for anyone to do 24 races. The drivers have to, but we [the race team] start on Monday in the office and go through until the end of the week.

"We need to find a solution, and I think the race team will skip a few races every year in order to survive.

"There are a few individuals that can take over some of my tasks. Not physically being at the race meeting doesn't mean that I am not at the race.

"I have a full intercom setup. There is a race support room at the factory, and I will be part of every single debriefing. I just won't be there physically."

Verstappen is guaranteed to take his second consecutive title this weekend with four rounds to spare if he wins and sets the fastest lap.