Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is taking his side’s ‘Cashgate’ penalty “on the chin”, despite believing that the Austrians have been slapped with a “draconian” punishment.
Following on from the FIA’s announcement the day after Max Verstappen claimed his second World Championship that Red Bull had exceeded the 2021 budget cap, it was declared by the governing body ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix just what the punishment is.
Red Bull’s ‘minor’ breach of the $145 million cap was announced to have been $2.2 million, which has seen the team awarded a $7 million fine and a 10-percent reduction on all aerodynamic research, including, windtunnel time.
Due to having won the Constructors’ Championship, the Austrians were already set to receive less aerodynamic research time than the rest of the field in 2023; however, the penalty means they’ll now receive even less.
Some have come forward to state that the penalty is “worthless” and not “severe”, something Horner completely disagrees with.
The Brit has predicted that the Milton Keynes-based team could find themselves up to half a second a lap slower in 2023, highlighting the “impact” the penalty might actually have on the leading outfit.
“I hear people say it’s not a severe penalty, but 10 per cent less wind tunnel time and other aerodynamic tools is a draconian penalty,” Horner said during a special press conference.
“That can cost 0.25sec to 0.5sec [per lap]. It will have an impact on our ability to perform on track next year.”
Incredibly, previous reports that stated that Red Bull exceeded the cap due to catering appear to be true, with Horner adding that none of the breach was spent on the “performance” of Verstappen’s title-winning car.
Horner admitted that the breach has resulted in the team having “lessons” to learn, with the boss being “astounded” that no other side exceeded the cap last season.
“I stand by the statement that there was zero benefit – not one penny [of the overspend] was spent on the performance of the car,” added Horner.
“Did we see any on-track performance? No, we didn’t. Are there things we could do better from an accounting perspective? Of course there are lessons that could be learned but not just on our side, I think on all sides.
“I’m astounded no other teams have found themselves in this position but good for them that eight have fully complied.”
Some fans have already complained that the penalty isn’t harsh enough, with some perhaps not recognising that the aerodynamic penalty could have a “huge impact” going forward, something that is predicted by ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok.
A former F1 blogger has said that the FIA’s “credibility and integrity is in the bin”, following the punishment announcement.