Horner hits back at Ferrari over budget cap comments

Christian Horner hit back at Fred Vasseur's comments about Red Bull's 2021 F1 cost cap breach

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Christian Horner urged a long-term view on Red Bull‘s cost cap penalty after Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur said their penalty was very light.

Red Bull were found guilty of breaching the cost cap by £1.86 million in Max Verstappen‘s championship-winning year of 2021, in one of the most controversial incidents of the 2022 season.

They were given a 10% reduction in aerodynamic testing for a year and fined £6 million – though that wasn’t taken out of their 2023 budget cap, and they have made a dominant start to the season.

Vasseur‘s comments? I think everyone is free to have an opinion,” said Horner. “The team did a great job over the winter, also thinking about the limited time we had to develop this car. But of course this will have an impact during this season and next season.”

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Vasseur made his comments ahead of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, which Max Verstappen won with relative ease ahead of Lewis Hamilton, leading by over eight seconds before the late safety cars despite running off with 11 laps to go.

That made it three wins from three for Red Bull, who’ve also taken every pole position so far and led over 90% of laps raced in 2023.

“I am still convinced the penalty was very light,” Vasseur said. “I don’t want to say they didn’t do a good job because, honestly, they did a very good job on the car. I am not trying to find an excuse at all, but if you ask me if the penalty is too light, I say yes.”

Horner: season not over yet

However, Horner – who previously described the penalty as “pretty draconian” and “very harsh”, said the full bite of the penalty still hadn’t taken effect.

“With only three races gone, I think it is still extremely premature to evaluate this season. There are a lot of GPs still to go.

“We have heard about big updates for both Ferrari and Mercedes when we return to Europe. So we are not taking anything for granted. We are focused on ourselves, to do the best possible job with the limits we have.

“We know that with the penalty it is difficult. We have taken it and we’re applying ourselves as best we can.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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