Christian Horner makes budget cap accusation against Mercedes

Christian Horner has claimed that Mercedes have used a large portion of their budget cap to produce their major upgrade package unveiled in Monaco.

Mercedes brought a huge slate of upgrades to Monaco as the team plots their championship comeback in the new era of regulations.

Arriving at the principality, Mercedes introduced conventional sidepods, scrapping their ‘zero sidepod’ concept and a new floor, as well as other changes to improve their aerodynamic performance.

The radical change to the W14 has been designed to allow Mercedes to get closer to their competitors at the front of the grid, although the team have been clear that they don’t expect to be fighting for the title anytime soon.

Lewis Hamilton qualified in P6 in Monaco, 0.4 seconds off P1, while George Russell was down in P8, 0.6 seconds behind leading driver Max Verstappen.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

“I haven’t had an in-depth look at the upgrades,” Horner told reporters.

“Virtually they are different, but sometimes visual things have the least performance impact.

“It’s also usually underneath the skin or the final details that have the biggest impact, so they’ve committed a significant part of their budget cap to this to this upgrade.

“It’s up to a team [to see] how well it applies.”

Article continues below

The allegation about another team’s finances is a bold step by Red Bull given the investigation they faced into their own cost cap breach in 2021.

READ: Sebastian Vettel returns to Formula 1

Red Bull was fined several million dollars and given a wind tunnel penalty, impeding their development, for a minor overspend in the 2021 season, which saw Verstappen claim his maiden world championship.

Despite the penalty, Red Bull is riding high in 2023, having managed to secure five victories out of five records, an impressive 100% win rate.

The best start to a season in their history has raised fears from other teams that Red Bull could scoop every victory of the season.