Christian Horner says Red Bull unlikely to breach 2022 cap, but sends FIA warning

Red Bull became the first side to breach Formula 1's budget cap, following a 'minor' break of the $145 million budget in 2021.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has declared that following his side’s $2.2 million breach of the 2021 budget cap, “six teams” look likely to exceed the limit this season, due to “exponential” energy prices.

The Austrians were, of course, found guilty by the FIA for having exceeded the 2021 equivalent after the Japanese Grand Prix, before their punishment was announced prior to the Mexican Grand Prix.

Red Bull were awarded a fine of $7 million and given a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research, a penalty that Horner labelled as “draconian”.

2022 has been an extremely challenging year for all the teams, with the cost of living crisis and the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe having caused prices across the globe to skyrocket.

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From catering to transportation, everything has seen a rise in price, something that has supposedly resulted in “several teams” telling the sport itself that they will “break the cap”.

Whilst Red Bull don’t appear to be an issue for this season’s cap, Horner did stress at the start of the year that the budget cap would have to be increased to ensure that all the teams could finish the season, with some having announced that they’d have to forfeit the last few rounds due to rapidly rising costs and a fear of exceeding the cap.

As a result, the cap was increased by 3.1-percent (around $4 million); however, it should be remembered that the limit for 2022 was originally $5 million lower than the $145 million available for each side in 2021.

With so many sides at risk of what could be a “five percent breach”, Horner is questioning what penalty will be awarded to those that break the limit, given how severe the Austrian’s punishment was for a 0.37-percent breach.

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“The danger for 2022 is there could be six teams in breach of the cap,” said Horner.

“Energy prices have been exponential. Thankfully we’ve been protected.

“There is that chance that several teams, many of which have stated during Formula 1 Commission meetings, will break the cap this year.

“I do not believe we will break the cap in 2022

“But these penalties have set a precedent for the future. So if you get 10 percent for a 0.37 percent breach, what is a five percent breach going to be worth?”

Whilst the team’s breach was set at $2.2 million, the FIA confirmed that the leading side would’ve only gone over by around $500,000 had they filed their tax documentation correctly.

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With that in mind, Horner believes that the governing body has proven that they’ll take an “aggressive stance” towards any side who goes beyond the set limit.

“The FIA have set a precedent with us to what amounts to a 0.37 percent overspend,” added Horner.

“So the FIA has taken a firm and aggressive stance on that to demonstrate they will take any breach severely.”