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.”
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.”