Christian Horner fired shots at Red Bull’s rivals, claiming that his employees are seeing their kids get bullied, after their parents are being berated as ‘cheats’ in the media.
It was leaked to the press weeks ago that Horner’s team had gone over the cost cap last season, potentially giving them an advantage in what was one of the closest driver battles in recent years, between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, with the former coming out on top.
The Milton Keynes based team have put a potential accidental overspend down to sick pay and catering, not a performance advantage, but Toto Wolff has poked fun at this explanation.
“We also thought about how many sandwiches we give people and how we deal with other cost blocks,” said the Mercedes team principal.
“Whatever they’re over with, whether it’s a million, two or five, I don’t know, it’s a monetary advantage that can be translated into development.”
Horner has described the other team’s behaviour as appalling, with his team’s name being dragged through the mud by their rivals, despite the fact that there was no concrete evidence released about the breach.
McLaren boss Zak Brown has penned a letter to the FIA branding Red Bull as ‘cheats’, while Mercedes have been very outspoken in their views on Red Bull’s alleged wrongdoing.
Wolff fails to see Horner’s argument, claiming that he is trying to play the victim to the press even though they’re the only team to have actually done anything wrong.
“I almost had to put out a tear when I heard that,” he said when asked about Horner’s bullying claims.
“The fact is that one team argues that they slipped over with supposed non-performance issues, but they also apply to all of us.”
Whilst Red Bull may or may not have gained a performance advantage last season as a result of their budget cap breach it looks highly unlikely that Max Verstappen will be stripped of his 2021 title.
The FIA have offered a punishment to the team and Red Bull have two options, to accept their terms, or negotiate in front of a panel of adjudicators.
The punishment is rumoured to be a reduction of wind tunnel time for next season, alongside a fine, instead of a deduction of championship points that was initially rumoured when the allegations surfaced weeks ago.