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Horner blasts defamatory remarks regarding cost cap violations

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hits back at the accusations that Red Bull exceeded last year's budget cap

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Red Bull Formula 1 team principal, Christian Horner, has stated that the team will take action against those teams that insinuated the Milton Keynes-based outfit exceeded the agreed-upon budget cap.

On the eve of Formula 1’s return to Singapore, rumors began circulating around the paddock that Red Bull exceeded last year’s budget cap by almost $10 million.

While Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies made general remarks about the situation, Horner has accused the pair of making defamatory remarks towards his team and even stated that their comments bring the sport into disrepute.

“Unless there is a clear withdrawal of those statements, we will be taking it incredibly seriously and looking at what the options available to us are,” Horner told members of the press prior to the start of FP3.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to be making comments of the type that were made yesterday, that are totally defamatory to the team, to the brands, and even to Formula 1.”

“This is an issue for the FIA to deal with, but also an issue for Red Bull to consider what our position is with those comments that have been made.”

Horner questions the source

The Red Bull team boss was also curious about how said information was obtained when even his own team was waiting on the FIA to get back to them.

“It is a private submission between the team and the FIA,” Horner continued.

“So how on earth can any team know the detail of our submission? How on earth can any team know that a team is in breach or not? 

“We don’t even know if we’re in breach. We don’t even know until next week, until the process has been completed.

“We made the submission in March, we stand absolutely 100 percent behind that submission that we are below the cap. 

“Of course, that submission has to be signed off by our auditors and obviously, ours is one of the big three. And then it goes through a process with the FIA.

“We’re a little bit like an audit where there are questions and interpretations that are raised and discussed. That process is ongoing with the FIA, who haven’t obviously completed their process at this point in time.

“I think they made that clear in a statement they put out yesterday evening. So we await with interest to see the final outcome of that process, which hopefully is in the near future, we but remain absolutely confident that we’ve absolutely complied with the cap.”

Attempt to discredit Verstappen

Horner also stated that the timing of the comments was curious and could have a lot to do with the fact that Max Verstappen stands on the brink of winning his second championship in as many years.

“Is it any coincidence that Max has his first shot at winning a world title, and here we are talking nothing but cost caps rather than the phenomenal performance that he has had this year,” Horner added.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action as he leads ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the 2022 Dutch GP REUTERS/Yves Herman

“I think it’s an underhand tactic that’s been employed to detract from perhaps a lack of performance on track this year. And of course, when references are made to last year, this year, next year, we’re going to take that extremely seriously.

“Perhaps, when these accusations are made, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And we take umbrage, and extremely seriously, the remarks that have been made.”

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