Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said that the team accepted a $7 million penalty and reduced wind tunnel time for next season to “close the book” on speculation about its breach of the 2021 cost cap.
The FIA announced that the Milton Keynes-based outfit had agreed to an Accepted Breach Agreement after it was found to have exceeded its allocated budget for the 2021 season.
Speculation has been rife about the exact size of any overspend by Red Bull given the close-fought 2021 title battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton which the Dutchman won by the narrowest of margins in Abu Dhabi.
The FIA have now confirmed that the overspend fell into the “minor” infringement category of less than 5% over the limit, and Horner said that the team had accepted the punishment “begrudgingly” to put an end to speculation from other parties.
“Why have we accepted it? Had we dragged it out through the administration process, that could have taken months and beyond that the ICA could have taken further months. We could have been looking at a 12-month period to have this closed,” Horner told media ahead of the Mexican GP.
“And the amount of speculation and sniping that has been going on, we felt it was in everyone’s interests to close the book. We accept the penalties – begrudgingly, but we accept them.”
Horner added that while the financial penalty handed out to the team of $7 million represented a significant hit, the restriction on wind tunnel usage for next season represented the harsher punishment given its impact on lap time.
“$7m is an enormous amount of money and the more draconian part is the sporting penalty which is a 10% reduction in our ability to use our wind tunnel and aerodynamic tools. That represents between 0.25secs and 0.5secs of lap time,” he said.
“By winning the constructors’ championship, we become victims of our own success by having a 5% incremental handicap compared to second and third places, so we will have 15% less than seconds and 20% less than third, that will have impact on our ability to perform on track.”