Christian Horner opens up on harsh FIA penalty

Red Bull have had ten percent of their wind tunnel testing time for 2023 taken away as punishment for breaching the 2021 cost cap.

Around the time of last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, rumours began to circulate stating that Red Bull and Aston Martin had been found guilty of breaching the 2021 cost cap of $145m.

These rumours dragged on for weeks before the FIA officially confirmed that Red Bull had been found guilty of a minor breach of the cost cap, putting the overspend down to multiple small breaches.

While the FIA refused to claim that Red Bull had done any of this with the intent to gain an advantage or deceive officials, they still slapped the team with both a financial and sporting penalty.

The energy drink giants were fined $7m and had ten percent of their wind tunnel testing time for 2023 taken away, a punishment which team principal Christian Horner called ‘draconian’ at the time.

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With the start of the 2023 season only weeks away, Horner has praised his team for dealing with this handicap, suggesting that the RB-19 should be a competitive car this year.

“We’re doing the best with what we’ve got,” he said at Red Bull’s season launch in New York.

“The team have had to adapt to the handicap that we have. They’ve done a wonderful job in doing that.

“Is it enough? We’ll find out in a couple of weeks’ time as a starting point.

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“It’s certainly a significant handicap that we carry for the majority of the year.

“But I think the team have obviously accepted it; we’ve looked to adapt to ensure we’re as efficient as we possibly can be.

“We’ll see when the RB-19 runs out on the track in anger if we’ve done enough.”

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Red Bull comfortably won both championships last season as Ferrari and Mercedes struggled under the new regulations.

Alongside their handicap for this season, Red Bull will be worried by the fact that their rivals will have learned from their 2022 shortcomings, making them a much scarier opposition this time around.

With Mercedes tipped to return to the top, fans could be set for the first three-way title battle in some time this season.