Red Bull offer explanation for cost cap breach as Christian Horner worried about 2023

Red Bull were found guilty of breaching the 2021 cost cap last month.

A lot has been made of Red Bull’s cost cap breach in 2021, with some believing that the team deliberately overspent, while others have accepted that it may have been an accident caused by the complicated set of new regulations.

The FIA have refused to point the blame in Red Bull’s direction, not mentioning in any of their reports that they believe the energy drink giants to have tried to deceive them or purposely gain an advantage over other teams.

It was a delicate topic because of the way the 2021 drivers’ championship was decided, with Max Verstappen beating Lewis Hamilton to the title on the last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading some to believe that the overspend of the budget cap was what made the difference.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has now claimed that the overspend was the fault of their accountants, with everything being checked and given the okay, leading the team to believe they were under the cap when the time came to submit their finance reports.

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“It was the first year of the budget cap,” he said.

“The rules were vague. It was late to react with clarifications. We had everything checked by Ernst & Young. You have to rely on something.”

The Austrian then went on to make a subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton and Haas, after Mercedes and Haas have been two of the most vocal teams about their opinions on the punishment Red Bull should face.

“We believed we had a safety net of three million. In the end, only $400,000 remained,” Marko explained.

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“With that money, Hamilton is building a front wing and Haas are making a whole new car.”

Christian Horner has said that Red Bull will accept their penalty of a $7m fine and a 10% reduction in wind tunnel time, however they still remain adamant that they have done nothing wrong.

The Red Bull team principal also believes that the sporting penalty will have a significant effect on the team’s performance in 2023, suggesting that the 10% reduction in testing time could cost them half a second of lap time.

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

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

Mercedes and Ferrari will look to take advantage of this advantage, and will be hoping to cause Red Bull much more of a problem than they did in 2022.