Red Bull boss Horner makes hopeful FIA request after £6m penalty

Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step

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Christian Horner has advised the FIA on how their cost cap penalty money should be spent after the Red Bull boss pledged to take the debacle ‘on the chin’. A fine and a reduction in wind tunnel time for the next 12 months was seen as lenient by many of their rivals but Horner insists that it could hit them hard in 2023. 

News of Red Bull’s overspend angered the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren amid calls for points to be docked from their 2021 total. Max Verstappen’s title win was a narrow one as he edged out Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of last year’s final race. 

The FIA’s end-of-season audit revealed that Red Bull were guilty of a minor breach on the £114million spending limit, amounting to just under £500,000. The likes of Martin Brundle called on F1’s governing body to crack down hard but they eventually issued a £6m fine and a 10 per cent reduction in wind tunnel time over the next year. 

With the fallout still taking shape, Horner has requested that the FIA use the £6m wisely by ‘hopefully’ investing into struggling championships. 

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“It’s an enormous amount of money and obviously it’s down to the FIA what it chooses to do with that money,” he said. “We just hope it gets put to good use. Obviously, we see championships that are struggling at the moment and hopefully it can do some good.”

One championship that could certainly use the money is the W Series as, following Jamie Chadwick’s world title win, organisers decided to wrap up their season ahead of schedule due to funding difficulties. 

Red Bull will look to put the cost cap saga behind them with a positive performance at the Mexican Grand Prix this weekend. Having been branded ‘cheaters’ by some sections of supporters in the United States last time out, they will at least enjoy more support at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez due to the presence of Mexican native Sergio Perez. 

Verstappen got the weekend off to a great start by putting his Red Bull on pole position, ahead of a stern Mercedes challenge led by George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. Earlier in the week, Horner called a press conference to address their FIA punishment and emphasise the impact it could have on their performance next season. 

“We could have been looking at a 12-month period to have this situation closed,” he claimed. “The amount of speculation, commenting and sniping that has been going on in the paddock, we felt that it was in everybody’s interest – our interest, the FIA’s interest, in F1’s interest – to say, ‘we close the book’, and we close the book here and today.

“We accept the penalties, begrudgingly, but we accept them. The more draconian part is the sporting penalty, which is a 10 per cent reduction in our ability to utilise our wind tunnel and aerodynamic tools. I’ve heard people reporting today that it’s an insignificant amount. Let me tell you now, that is an enormous amount. That represents anywhere between a quarter and half a second of a lap.”

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