Christian Horner makes claim about ‘enormous’ FIA penalty

Christian Horner has criticised the FIA’s punishment following their budget cap breach.

Red Bull have been found guilty of breaching the 2021 budget cap of $145m and after weeks of rumours and negotiation with the FIA, the team have been hit with a $7m fine and a 10% reduction in aerodynamic testing time for next year.

Christian Horner has slated the FIA’s decision, claiming that the punishment will affect the team for years to come, despite their overspend being minor.

“A 0.37 percent breach, that is essentially what we are talking about,” he explained, with the Red Bull team principal suggesting that the team filed its documentation correctly, making the alleged overspend less than was rumoured.

“We’ve been provided with a significant penalty, both financially and sportingly, from the $7m, which is an enormous amount of money.

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“The more draconian part is the sporting penalty which is a 10% reduction in our ability to utilise our wind tunnel and aerodynamic tools.”

Horner has dismissed claims that the punishment is minuscule, explaining the effects that a lack of testing time can have.

“I’ve heard people reporting that is an insignificant amount. Let me tell you now that is an enormous amount, representing anywhere between a quarter and a half a second’s worth of lap time.

“That comes in from now and has a direct effect on next year’s car.”

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As per the regulations, testing time is already scaled down based on the teams finishing position, with Horner claiming that their success this season is already enough of a burden on next year before the penalty.

“By winning the constructor’s championship, we are victims of our own success. In addition to that 10 percent, we have a five percent handicap compared to the second and third placed teams.

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“Just for clarity, we will have 15 percent less wind tunnel time than the second placed team in the constructor’s championship, and 20 percent less than the third place – again, a draconian amount.

“So that 10 percent, put into reality, will have an impact on our ability to perform on track next year.”

The team from Milton Keynes have already wrapped up the constructors’ and drivers’ championships this year, but with the punishment set to come into effect for next year, Ferrari and Mercedes will be hoping that they can take advantage of Red Bull’s lack of windtunnel time and mount a tougher challenge against Max Verstappen and his team.