Red Bull budget cap row is over “a couple of hundred thousand dollars” – Horner

2022 United States Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is adamant they gained no advantage last year or in any subsequent seasons by exceeding Formula 1’s budget cap.

The FIA announced last week Red Bull had not kept within the $145 million spending limit during 2021, the first year the budget cap was enforced. The sport’s governing body accused it of a “minor” over-spend, which under the rules means as much as 5%, which is $7.25m.

However Horner indicated the sum involved at the heart of the dispute was considerably less than that.

“The 5% window I think is part of the regulations that potentially need to be looked at,” he said. “Because the ranging suite of penalties again are totally subjective.”

Possible sanctions for a “minor” breach of the regulations include a fine, a reduction of Red Bull’s future cost cap, points deductions.

“I think this is what’s contributed to a concerted campaign for there to be a draconian penalty on Red Bull for what at the end of the day, we’re talking probably what is in contention with the FIA of a couple of hundred thousand dollars,” said Horner. “As I say I will explain later why we have a different opinion within that submission of what our position was versus another.”

While rival teams have claimed any benefit Red Bull gained last year would continue to be felt in subsequent seasons, Horner insists they have “absolutely not” benefited by over-spending.

“We’ve got to look at what are the relevant costs and what are the relevant costs within the cap and what’s outside of the cap,” he said. “And that’s where the interpretation comes from. Our view is that our relevant costs are within the cap. Now obviously we are in discussion with the FIA about what those costs are and what are mitigating potential circumstances, et cetera…

“We had zero benefit from a development perspective or an operational perspective either for 2021 or for 2022 from the way that we operated it within the cap. Our submission was significantly below the cap.

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“We expected certain things to be potentially challenged or clarified, as is the process in the brand new set of regulations. But based on external, professional accounting, third parties’ interpretation of those rules of a 50-page document to police this, were very clear from our side. So we absolutely and categorically don’t feel that we’ve had any advantage either in 2021 or 2022 or ’23 or ’24 or some teams talk about ’26, it is totally fictitious.”

Horner said there was no indication from the FIA of any concerns over their submission until last month. “We made an interim submission in 2021,” he explained. “There was no feedback and no suggestion that we were doing anything that was contrary to any regulations.

“Then of course the submission made in March, again we didn’t hear anything from that submission in March until about September. So it’s a significant period of time.”

He pointed out that “there’s also within the regulations for the FIA to guide, to have effective compliance.”

Horner met with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem yesterday and is hopeful they are nearing a resolution to the row.

“We are in a process with the FIA,” he said. “We’re hoping to get closure on that and at that point in time then all the facts will be laid on the table and we’ll be able to talk very openly about the cap and why we feel that our costs are fully in line.”

“They’re diligently trying to do their job and hopefully in the near future we’ll have a resolution,” he added.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
RJ O'Connell
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48 comments on “Red Bull budget cap row is over “a couple of hundred thousand dollars” – Horner”

  1. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    22nd October 2022, 19:39

    We only cheated a little bit, why are you guys making a big deal out of this?

    1. The row is over a few 100K but he didn’t confess anything yet. He states the FIA and their accountants differ in opinion on a few entries to the amount of that figure… But read it as you wish :)
      Only one thing is certain, Mercedes knows everything, even before it is decided :)

      1. “over a few 100k” – well technically I could see them calling about 2 million “a few 100k”. But anyway, we’ve heard Vasseur saying their teams whole development budget is about 3,5 million for the year so even if it were only a quarter o a millions or so it will still mean a significant advantage.

        Maybe if Red Bull hadn’t won, and most other teams hadn’t felt Red Bull has been doing more in season development than any of them were able to afford both this and last year, opinions wouldn’t be as strongly againts their BS.

        1. This year both Ferrari and Mercedes have brought more updates to the track than Mercedes. So the perspective that RB has done more in season development seems to be wrong.

          1. House of mirrors perspective?

      2. A car can be disqualified for being a fraction of a percent out of spec, even if it was damaged. If they have only 995ml fuel left for a sample, ditto.

        It’s a cap, a limit. It doesn’t matter of they were $1 over our $7mil,.

        1. +1 if 2mm is an instant disqualification then so should $2

        2. I think this has been clarified before: technical regulations are unforgiving, sporting regulations are forgiving, which is the case here.

          1. I’m aware of this, I just disagree with the basic principle.

            Now, I don’t think it should be an instant disqualification for a breach, but I also don’t think it should matter if it’s $1 or $1mil.

        3. One is a matter of scientific fact, the other is a matter of opinion, wording and interpretation.
          Economics and finance aren’t mathematics, it has been made far more complicated than simple addition and subtraction.

      3. it can also be interpreted that they hired a couple of more engineers/personnel to get ahead a tenth or a hundredth?

        a mm DSQ ham, so why did you guys make a big deal for a mere mm? personnaly inspecting a part, reporting it and getting ham banned for a mm?

        same guy/team found with a cheating device in its front wing, same guy/team was found in breach for using their own devices/sensors instead of fia mandatory sensors.

        others are abusing… funny how hypocritical this guy is

  2. A cheat being upset at being called a cheat? Who would have thought it?

    Christian Horner has to have the most selective memory in the paddock. This is a man who has made a career of flinging accusations around the paddock.

    Just last year, after the Qatar GP, Christian Horner claimed that Mercedes are “cheating” because they used a rear wing that gave them an unfair advantage.

    If hypocrisy was a sport, Red Bull and Horner would win it hands down. He deserves an Oscar for keep a straight face whilst spewing out this diatribe.

  3. And he finally admitted. What a tool this man is.
    Keep pressing him and he’ll say a couple million dollars before the end of the season.

    1. He admitted nothing yet: As I read it he says: “Our accountants and those of the FIA don’t agree over a few bills, and if the books are done the FIA way, we’re over with 0.2%.”

  4. Well, i can submit whatever i want as my income.. doesn’t mean it will be accepted by the authorities.. lol

  5. Horner only cheated a bit on his pregnant wife with a spice girl.

    1. Only slightly pregnant maybe?

  6. Well first it was “we didn’t overspent.” Now it is “we overspent a tiny bit.” To save everbodys time Horner should have said in the first place. Maybe in a few weeks time it will be “we overspent quite a bit.”

    1. Saying that the discussion with the FIA is about a couple of $ 100.000 is not admitting they overspend. They still do not agree with the interpretation of the FIA and are still talking about that.

      1. No I do report this comment 😡🤬😡🤬

        1. Didn’t 🤬😡🤬😡

    2. It’s not only Horner but all in F1. They are like teenagers lying to their parents. “No mom! I didn’t spent all our savings to shopping and food and drinks with my friends….” and what happens next. The truth comes out. Sometimes I think it is just a kindergarden playground.

  7. FIA should handle this behind closed doors until there is an agreement. The toxic that has been this last weeks have been insane

    1. It is precisely because everything is behind the scenes that’s toxic.

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      23rd October 2022, 10:18

      Horner has started playing the victim. in the last interview I saw of him about this he could of cleared up the whole saga but chose not to. He is dragging it out.

  8. Just like how HAM’s rear wing in Belgium was just a fraction of a mm wider gap?

    1. That was Brazil.

    2. +1 it’s all “rules are rules” and “let them race” until RedBull comes off worse. Then it’s calls for disqualification, race bans and crying about how Hamilton tried to kill Max.

      Honestly the guy is a walking contradiction.

      And of course a now self admitted cheater.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        22nd October 2022, 21:58

        Care to point to a quote where he admitted to cheating? I know you’re getting all giddy at the thought of Lewis being handed the title but it appears you might want to read the article again….

        1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
          23rd October 2022, 10:21

          The deals available allow ORBR to not lose any points so that is clearly going to be the last card played by them if they cannot find a way to mitigate away the overspend.

          What seems worse if more rumours are true is that ORBR have been allowed to negotiate their punishment.

  9. I think championship position drops should start at 1% over so if Horner is correct here I would be happy with significant wind tunnel time penalties or budget cap penalties for 2023, plus a hefty fine.

    1. plus a hefty fine

      I am genuinely curious why anyone believes any sort of fine is appropriate (whether stand alone, or as part of a suite of penalties).

      The more affluent teams obviously have a lot of money that they would actually like to spend, but cannot because of the budget cap. If they are compelled to spend some of this money on a fine, what is the ‘real’ loss or disincentive?

      Assuming “equal” treatment, if a small team were penalised in the same way, they would have to find money that they really don’t have, so unless wealthy teams are fined to near bankruptcy such a penalty would all was seem disproportionate.

      I am not picking on yourself specifically, as I have seen similar comments from others, so I feel I must be missing something.

  10. Do I hate it when people refuse to admit their mistakes. It makes them even look disgusting. Especially from Red Bull. Besides he’s even known for cheating. Respect to Verstappen and Perez but no respect for the team.

  11. Cheater Spice.

    Nice of him to admit that RedBull are cheats.

  12. A Couple Hundred Thousand is the salary of a particular engineer, or more, who might otherwise have worked somewhere else. And who might have made invaluable contributions.

  13. “We’re talking probably what is in contention with the FIA of a couple of hundred thousand dollars,” said Horner.

    Probably? Horner knows full well what his team reported, what the FIA flagged, and what this amounts to. It’s fair enough he’s not willing to say it, but it’s equally fair enough for others to not believe what he has to say about it at this point.

    It’s all posturing while the Adjudication Panels considers the best way to handle the report.

    1. Davethechicken
      22nd October 2022, 22:11

      A couple means two. Not three or four, two.
      So let’s see if this is true Christian. Show us the actual figure the FIA has flagged.

  14. 5% being a minor breach is ridiculous. 5% is minor when compared to 100% but if someone was to breach the cap by 100%, they would have spent 2x of the cap. Even a 50% breach is 1.5x and is egregious. 5% of 145,000,000 is 7,250,000 and you can pay for a lot of engineers and create a bunch of parts to test with that money.
    Put another way, there were 22 races in 2021, which, at the end of the day, is about 6.6m per race, which means a 5% breach is more than 1 race worth of spend.

    1. Agree, a minor breach should probably be 1% or less in the context of the budget cap.

      1. The wording needs to be tidied up, especially if the dirty laundry is being aired for weeks without any signs of when the punishment will be announced leaving us guessing and accusing a team. Sure an overspend is an overspend, but the difference between a few hundred thousand and a few million is colossal.

  15. Horner: so we didn’t cheat alot we just cheated alittle…

  16. A couple of hundreds of thousands of dollars, Red Bull are trying to make it seem like a couple dollars over. Even if they were $5 over they should be penalised, the same way teams get penalised for having a rear wing 2mm out of FIA limits.

  17. Very well summarised. People fuelled by their discontent over the 2021 finale spoke way before their turn. Similar to the flexi floor saga. FIA reacts unmoved, which is the (frankly only possible) first step to take when surrounded by toddlers. Second step is to try to contain/restrain their participating team bosses. Some kind of leash is needed.

  18. Assuming its about $300,000/$145,000,000 =.0021. Agreed, that is a very, very minor number. But we still need exact numbers, before discussing this, or even assigning penalties. Some of you are acting like if you owe someone $1000, and only pay $998, you should go to jail. Hamilton crashed Max out at the 2021 Brit GP, and that cost Red Bull over $1,000,000 to repair! If you want to be a hard liner over every penny, then we should have Hamilton and Toto to pay for Red Bulls $1,000,000 repair too. They were at fault for the accident! There are much more important things in life than arguing over this tiny .0021 number, or whatever it is

    1. Davethechicken
      23rd October 2022, 18:30

      Horner is quoted as saying a couple, which means two, ergo 200,000. He had a private school education, so I am sure he has excellent English language skills.
      Let’s see if the subsequent figure released by the FIA tallys with this, CH wouldn’t lie to the media, surely as it will be obvious when the FIA publish.

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