Angry Horner slams Red Bull have exceeded F1 budget cap


Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hit back on Saturday at rivals’ « fictitious claims » that his team exceeded the Formula 1 budget cap last year and said he was considering action in justice if they were not withdrawn.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hit back on Saturday at rivals’ « fictitious claims » that his team exceeded the Formula 1 budget cap last year and said he was considering action in justice if they were not withdrawn.

F1 set a budget cap of $145m last year when Max Verstappen narrowly won his first world title after beating Lewis Hamilton in a controversial final race.

Reports have speculated that Red Bull exceeded the budget cap by 5% – or around $7 million – which is a more serious material violation and could be subject to a ban. Less than 5% is considered a minor infraction that may result in a point deduction or suspension. Verstappen looks unlikely to lose his 2021 title.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has demanded the FIA ​​governing body take action if Red Bull or other teams have broken the rule, while Ferrari has also complained.

« As far as we understand, there’s a minor infraction team, which is more procedural, and another team which is basically massively finished, » Wolff said on Sky TV on Friday. « So it’s an open secret in the paddock. »

Horner fired back on Saturday.

« We were a little surprised by the comments from our two rival teams, » Horner said during a press conference at the Singapore Grand Prix. « The submissions between the team and the FIA ​​are confidential, and I have no idea of ​​the outcome. » of our rivals submission is so I would be intrigued to know where their source of information for these fictitious claims comes from. »

Horner called the claims « grossly defamatory » and claimed their timing had to do with Verstappen being on the verge of winning his second straight world title.

« We can only assume it’s no coincidence that this happens at a time when Max is having his first shot at a world championship, » Horner said. “We’re talking cost caps here rather than Max’s phenomenal performance this year. It’s an underhanded tactic used to deflect attention from a possible lack of on-track performance by our rivals. »

Mercedes have won every constructors’ championship since 2014, but seven-time F1 champion Hamilton and George Russell have not won a race between them this year. Ferrari last won the drivers’ title in 2007 and have made a series of mistakes this season.

Wolff and Horner had a strained relationship last year which was pushed to breaking point when they openly bickered at an intense press conference in Qatar towards the end of last season.

The FIA ​​only briefly commented on the matter, saying on Friday night that the process was still ongoing and also contesting claims that have been made in the Singapore paddock.

« The FIA ​​is currently finalizing the assessment of the 2021 financial data submitted by all Formula 1 teams. Alleged breaches of the financial regulations, if any, will be dealt with in accordance with the formal process set out in the regulations, » the statement read. FIA notes significant and unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture in this regard, and reiterates that the assessment is ongoing and that due process will be followed without regard to any external discussion. »

Horner said his team was ready to take legal action if the allegations against Red Bull were not withdrawn.

“The FIA ​​said they have not completed their process, so unless there is a clear retraction of those statements we will take it very seriously,” said Horner. « We will consider all options available to us as it is absolutely unacceptable to make the comments that were made yesterday which are totally defamatory towards the team, the brands and Formula 1. »

A 5% overrun in 2021, as would have been done by Red Bull, would equate to a surplus of $7.25 million.

« To reiterate, what is totally unacceptable is for teams that are not party to any form of submission to make statements about our submission and prospect penalties… It’s just plain out of place, » said Horner. He added: « When these charges are made, people in glass houses should not throw stones. »

The FIA ​​is expected to deliver its verdict by Wednesday next week when it issues certificates of compliance Aston Martin is said to be another team that breached the 2021 cap.

Any proven breach would have impacted a team’s performance in 2022 and the development of the car for next year.

“It is no longer a secret that two teams breached the regulations on the 2021 budget cap, one significantly, the other less,” Ferrari race director Laurent Mekies told AFP. Sky Italia. « We consider this to be something very serious and we expect the FIA ​​to handle the situation in an exemplary manner. We have 100% confidence in the FIA.

Horner has no idea how other teams would know.

“It’s a private submission between the team and the FIA. So how the hell can a team know the details of our submission?” said Horner. “We don’t even know if we’re in violation. we won’t even know until next week, until the process is complete.

The budget cap was introduced in a bid to level the playing field in F1 and reduce spending by powerhouses like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

It was reduced to $140 million for 2022 and drops to $135 million for 2023, excluding driver salaries and engine costs.


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Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press


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