David Coulthard makes Mercedes budget cap prediction

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton in April

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David Coulthard has predicted Mercedes will not breach the budget cap next season despite moaning about Red Bull’s penalty. Red Bull were issued a 10 per cent reduction in wind tunnel and CFD testing next season after being found guilty of breaching the budget cap.

However, the former McLaren driver said “nobody wants a 10 per cent reduction” in development despite criticising the penalty. He said: “Let’s say McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes all over the cost cap next year because they’re willing to take a 10 per cent reduction.

“They won’t do it because 10 per cent is 10 per cent – nobody wants a 10 per cent reduction. So of course, they’re going to say that because the shoe is not on their foot. But as sure as they are in Formula One, there’ll be something that’s controversial about their team in the future.”

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin disagreed with Christian Horner’s view that the extra money did not contribute to on-track performance.


Shovlin said it was “difficult to pit a lap time” on what Red Bull could have gained but stressed “money buys performance”. Despite the comments, Toto Wolff seemed to confirm Mercedes had no interest in breaking the cap in 2022.

He was asked by Martin Brundle whether Mercedes would consider breaking the cap because of the minor penalty handed out. However, Wolff suggested the Silver Arrows would not risk the “reputational damage” suffered by Red Bull.

He explained: “I think what you see is beyond a sporting penalty and financial fine, it’s also reputational damage.

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“In a world of transparency and good governance, that’s just not on anymore. Compliance wise whatever team you are, you’re responsible for representing a brand, your employees, your partners. That’s why for us it wouldn’t be a business case.”

Red Bull has also confirmed their team suffered after being found guilty of breaking the cap a day after the Japanese Grand Prix. Team principal Christian Horner said the team had “taken a very public pounding” in accusations from rival teams.

He commented: “I don’t feel we need to apologise. I think there are lessons to be learned. Everybody can learn from this. We’ve taken a very public pounding through the accusations that have been made by other teams. We’ve had our drivers booed at circuits. The reputational damage from allegations has been significant. The time is now for that to stop and move on.”

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