Red Bull’s cost-cutting penalty could hit the 2022 Formula One world champions by half a second per lap next season, team boss Christian Horner said on Friday.
The governing Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) announced earlier that Red Bull had agreed to pay a $7 million fine for breaching the $145 million spending cap for 2021 and have wind tunnel testing time reduced by 10%
Speaking to reporters at the Mexican Grand Prix in a press conference that lasted almost 50 minutes, Horner said the fine was a significant amount but “the more draconian part is the sporting sanction.
“Let me tell you now, it’s a huge amount,” he said of the reduction in wind tunnel use.
“That represents somewhere between a quarter and half a second lap time. It comes from now, it has a direct effect on the car for next year and it will be in place for a period of 12 months.”
Horner said Red Bull, the team of double world champion Max Verstappen, was also a “victim of our own success” with a further reduction in the use of wind tunnels to win the 2022 championship.
“We will have 15% less time in the wind tunnel than the second team in the constructors’ championship and 20% less than the third place,” he said.
“So that 10% realized in reality will have an impact on our ability to perform on the track next year.”
Horner said his team accepted a settlement with the FIA because it was in the sport’s best interest to close the book on the matter rather than risk it dragging on for months and possibly to an appeals court.
“We take it on the chin. Now is the time to go to bed and move on,” he said, reiterating his claim that the overspending had no benefit to the team’s performance and providing details of what happened.
He said Red Bull had submitted bills for more than 70,000 items, 3.7 million pounds ($4.29 million) below the cap, but some of the items they had accepted could be excluded turned out to be they are not.
These include the £1.4m cost of catering for all of the company’s staff, redundancies and long-term sick pay.
“If the person had died … the price would have been off,” Horner said. “Fortunately they did not die, but therefore costs were included for that period of illness.”
“Every one of you who visited Milton Keynes contributed to the overspend,” he added of the food bill.
Horner refused to apologise, saying there was no fraud or intent to defraud and believed the punishment set a precedent and would serve as a deterrent for the future.
He hopes the fine will be put to good use by the FIA.
However, the team boss pointed out that Red Bull’s share of revenue from F1 advertising rights holders Liberty Media next season as champions will exceed the cap itself, with sponsorship income on top.