Christian Horner launches attack on Red Bull budget cap critics

Red Bull were found guilty of breaching Formula 1’s budget cap, though they have yet to receive a punishment


Red Bull boss Christian Horner has lashed out at his fellow Formula 1 team bosses, after a number have more or less accused the constructor of cheating after they were found to have breached the cost cap. 

CEO of McLaren, Zak Brown, has been particularly forthright in his criticism, with drivers and team principals calling for a severe punishment for Red Bull following the breach. 

“It’s tremendously disappointing for a fellow competitor to accuse you of cheating and fraudulent activity,” Horner told the press. 

“It’s shocking, absolutely shocking, without the facts, without any knowledge of the details to make that accusation.

“We’ve been on trial because of public accusation since Singapore with the [accusations] of cheats, or had this enormous benefit.

“The numbers put to the media are miles out of reality. The damage that does to the brand, our partners, to our drivers, to our workers, in an age were mental health is prevalent.

“We are seeing significant issues now within out workforce, we are seeing kids bullied in the playground that our employees’ children. That is not right [because] of fictitious allegations from other teams.

“You cannot go round making that kind of allegation without any fact or substance so we absolutely are appalled by the behaviour of some of our competitors.”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing during final practice for 2022 Singapore Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull negotiating with FIA

That said, Horner did offer an update regarding the situation with the FIA, who have reportedly offered Red Bull a deal should they accept that they broke the budget cap. The Milton Keynes outfit deny any wrongdoing and continue to protest their innocence. 

“The latest is that we are in a process with the FIA,” Horner stated.

“We are hoping to get closure on that and at that point in time all the facts would be laid on the table and we would be able to talk very openly and why we feel our costs are fully in line.

“We are working with the FIA and they are diligently doing their job and hopefully in the near future we will have a resolution.

“We are now in a voluntary process with the FIA, going through that process with them.

“I hoped for it to be resolved this weekend, I’m hopeful it can be resolved this weekend. Should that not happen, it would go the Cost Cap Administration panel, then beyond that there’s the International Court of Appeal so it could be drawn out for another 6-9 months.

“That’s not our intention, we want closure on 2021.”

Max Verstappen at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix
Max Verstappen of Red Bull during the 2022 F1 Singapore Grand Prix | Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Breaking the rules, is breaking the rules 

In the same press conference, Brown highlighted that a rule breach is a rule breach, whether it be the cost cap or ride height of a car. 

“The cap is a rule, just like the technical rules in the sport,” Brown said. “We are not taking a rule of if they did or didn’t.

“My letter was ‘if someone has’ then here are the things that we think should be addressed.

“No different than if a ride height is incorrect or a flexi-wing, or whatever the case may be. I didn’t mention any teams, it was a general response that we are in the cost cap era, if somebody breaches that, here’s what we think some of the ramifications are.

“I have no idea what the number is. If we had more money to spend, that would put is in a better light for performance with more people, more upgrades, whatever the case may be, we feel it’s a performance benefit.

“That’s up to the FIA if they have or haven’t.”

John Smith
John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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