Red Bull’s budget cap penalty could hit harder in 2024 – Horner

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says their penalty for breaching the budget cap will hit them harder if the technical rules change for next season.

The team was penalised last year after the FIA ruled it exceeded the budget cap by £1.8 million during the previous season. Red Bull was told to pay a $7 million fine – which is excluded from their budget cap – and had its aerodynamic testing allocation reduced.

The team’s development allocation is already handicapped as they won the constructors championship last year. The penalty reduced their limit further, from 70% of the reference total to 63%. That additional reduction applies over a 12-month period, meaning it will affect their development of the current RB19 and next year’s RB20.

“We have another eight, nine months still to go with it and it means that we’re going to have to be very selective and extremely efficient in how we develop this car and, of course, next year’s car,” Horner told media including RaceFans during today’s FIA press conference.

The scale of that disadvantage will be amplified if the team has to react to changes in the technical regulations for 2024, Horner said.

“It really depends if anything changes in the regulations,” he said. “We’re expecting stable regulations. But of course it is a disadvantage, a handicap, to have not only the incremental difference that you have by being first place in the championship, on top of that a further 10%.”

Ferrari is permitted 75% of the reference total and Mercedes 80%, as they finished second and third respectively in last year’s championship.

“So we have 15% less time than Fred and 20% less than Mercedes and so on. That’s a significant number.

“So for us it’s all about being efficient, being effective in what we apply and choose to test in the tunnel and how we develop both the [RB] ’19 and and the ’20 car.”

*Due to their penalty for exceeding the budget cap in 2021, Red Bull’s allocation this year is reduced from 70% to 63%

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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12 comments on “Red Bull’s budget cap penalty could hit harder in 2024 – Horner”

  1. He’s really milking this for all its worth – and then some.

    If anything he’s lucky they deducted a straight up percentage rather than additional percentage points to keep Red Bull at 63% rather than 60%.

    1. I think Horner speaks the truth here as i also thought 2024 is where they feel the reducing windtunnel penaulty.

      1. I can’t process that sentence – it’s like that logic statement that puts robots into a loop, I get to the 6th word and find myself at the 1st again.

  2. And the fine should have come out of the budget, rather than asking Dietrich if he had look for any change down the back of his settee.

  3. It always makes me laugh all the fuss about roughly $2m in breaking the cap. As if that money could make any performance difference, especially when you consider how much more money Mercedes and Ferrari have sunk into every aspect of their operations than RBR and the advantage that carries through. It especially laughable when you consider how much more advantage those two can from their wider operations without it being calculated into their budget.

    1. $2m is enough to have brought extra performance to the car because thats enough to have brought a new aero update which they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do & they aren’t going to want to put a new update on the car unless they believe it will bring performance.

      1. Ehhh, debatable. At best, a small .05 upgrade. Doesn’t bridge the gap to all the inherent money driven performance advantages Mercedes and Ferrari already had.

        BTW, I’ll note that I think Max is an arrogant jerk. So, I have no dog in this fight.

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      3rd March 2023, 16:31

      It appears to be Horner that is making all the fuss now. Don’t think ORBR didn’t spend similar sums to the others. They have sunk hundreds of millions as well into the effort to overcome MB and now they have.

      RB I think you will find have been working on other things outside of F1 as well.

      1. Nothing compared to the thousands of engineers and experts, the accumulated knowledge, white papers, data from other projects, programs, experiments, etc. that the automotive behemoths Mercedes and Fiat Ferrari have.

        Point being is I’d rather have that than $2m extra in my budget for a single season.

        1. But, theoretically, if there was one race remaining, you are level on points with your closest rival for the championship but have maxed out your budget for the season, and you have just discovered a new update to the car that will cost $2M, in that scenario it might very much be worth breaking the cap and facing the penalty when the FIA’s incompetence meant that it would be such a minor penalty. It is perfectly possible that this is exactly what happened, and any exceeding of the budget cap is serious cheating and should have been punished far more harshly than it was. But again, that’s not Red Bull’s fault because they knew the rules prevented the FIA from giving them a harsher penalty than the one they got.

        2. Nick T., I get the impression that you don’t really seem to be that aware of the multitude of engineering sub-companies that exist under the Red Bull umbrella. Red Bull has two different separate registered powertrain divisions (Red Bull Powertrains and Red Bull Powertrains 2026), Red Bull Technology, Red Bull Advanced Technology and Red Bull Advanced Services, as well as Red Bull Racing.

          You talk about “how much more money Mercedes and Ferrari have sunk into every aspect of their operations than RBR”, yet don’t seem to quite realise the scale of the resources that Red Bull has is quite a bit more than you seem to realise or quite how complex a network of companies that they have been setting up – it’s not as if Red Bull is a team like Haas.

          Equally, why are you so utterly convinced that $2 million would have little to no effect? Binotto pointed out that $2 million would have increased his budget for producing new development parts by 50%, or paid for another 35 members of staff and helped improve performance by another 0.25s per lap over the course of a season – other teams, meanwhile, have pointed out that they could have homologated and fabricated an entirely new chassis design for that amount of money.

          At this point, you have to wonder why you think teams bother spending any money on developing their cars during the season – because you seem to be acting as if it adds so little performance that they might as well not bother spending anything.

    3. It has always been a, politically driven, witch hunt.

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