After weeks of speculation, Red Bull received their punishment for their minor breach of the 2021 budget cap, being fined $7m and having their windtunnel testing time for next year slashed by ten percent.
Christian Horner has accepted the FIA’s punishment after a long spell of negotiation, but still refuses to accept any wrongdoing by his team.
He claims that all of the overspend was down to his team interpreting the rules differently to the FIA, which can be reinforced by the findings noted by the governing body, refusing to accuse the team of any deliberate attempt to deceive or cheat.
Horner has now addressed the negative affect that the FIA’s verdict can have on his team’s reputation, suggesting that the other teams are choosing to cause such a stir in the paddock because Red Bull’s success has made them unpopular amongst their rivals.
“It’s a competitive business and Formula One sometimes can be a nasty business, and the problem is, the higher you rise, the sharper the knives,” he explained when discussing the negative attention his team have received.
“The more you win, the less popular you are, and we’ve done a lot of winning.
“That sits uncomfortably with some of the brands that belong to large automotive companies, historic brands, or historic Formula One brands. Therefore, it’s very easy to have a go at Red Bull.”
It is not uncommon for the Red Bull brand to become unpopular because of their success, with RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga becoming one of the villains of German football due to their rapid rise to success and lack of pedigree in the sport.
Red Bull have faced a lot of negative attention since the Singapore Grand Prix where the breach was first rumoured, with McLaren CEO Zak Brown even writing a letter to the FIA accusing any team found in breach of the budget cap as ‘cheats’, which Horner described as out of order and slanderous, with there being no genuine evidence at that point besides the rumours.
“We did not cheat,” said Horner.
“We feel that we’ve been publicly chastised by fellow members in the paddock, and I think that’s not right.”
Red Bull will hope that their lack of testing time compared to their rivals will not put their dominance at risk next year, with Mercedes and Ferrari smelling blood with their rival wounded for the season to come.