Christian Horner responds to claim Red Bull breached budget cap as Max Verstappen could be punished

Red Bull and Aston Martin were mentioned in a report indicating that two teams were in breach of last year's rules.

Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, is optimistic that Red Bull will not be found to be in breach of the financial regulations in 2021.

The Austrian team, after seven seasons of languishing behind Mercedes in the championship, came into the 2021 campaign with a real chance of challenging for the world title.

Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton went toe-to-toe for the title, winning an incredible 18 races between them as they displayed their phenomenal talent.

The Dutchman would win the title in controversial fashion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the decisions of race control that night led fans to suggest that the title should be reversed in favour of the seven-time champion.

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That controversy seems to have died down since then, with perhaps even some of the most ardent of Mercedes fans beginning to accept that the title had gone the way of the 24-year-old.

However, fresh controversy has arisen as a result of a potential breach of the budget cap last year by Red Bull and Aston Martin.

There is speculation that the Milton Keynes-based team may have spent up to $155 million last year, $10 million over the restrictions.

One of the potential repercussions for the contravention of the budget cap laws is an exclusion for the world championship in the year in question.

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It is therefore possible that this may happen to Red Bull, although Article 9 of the financial regulations does not specify whether that exclusion would apply to the driver as well as the team.

While Verstappen beat Hamilton to individual gold last year, it was Mercedes that won their eighth consecutive teams’ title.

In 2007, McLaren were thrown out of the Constructors’ Championship for the spygate saga, but Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were allowed to remain in the Drivers’ Standings, having finished second and third, respectively.

The FIA have called any speculation about breaches “unsubstantiated,” and will deal with any breaches as and when they get to them.

Horner, for his part, is “confident” that his team have not overspent.

“I’m not aware of any [breaches]. Accounts were submitted way back in March so it’s been a long process with the FIA,” he told Sky Sports.

“We’re in that process as we speak. They’re rightly following that process and I think next week is when they declare their certificates.

“So, I think… certainly our submission was below the cap and it’s down to the FIA to follow the process, which they’re currently doing.

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“Inevitably, it’s a brand new set of regulations, a set of very complicated regulations. How rules are interpreted and applied is inevitably going to be subjective between the teams.

“I’m sure, as the years go by, things will get tidied up. We’re confident in our submission and, as I say, the FIA are in a process.”

Verstappen and Red Bull lead the respective championships in 2022 as Formula 1 heads into the final six rounds of the season, starting at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.