In light of ongoing FIA research into the teams’ financial filings from last year, Christian Horner has stated that Red Bull were “several million” below the F1 cost cap in 2022.
Red Bull was fined $7 million and had its wind tunnel time for this season lowered by 10% after being found responsible for a “minor overspend” for the 2021 campaign.
At least two F1 teams allegedly exceeded the expense cap last year, according to reports prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 2021 season saw the introduction of the cost cap, and current fieldwork is examining the 2022 season, when the budget cap was $140 million. For this year’s campaign as well as the following two up to and including 2025, the cap is $135 million.
“Last year, Max [Verstappen] damaged one front wing and Checo [Perez] had a crash in Montreal, and again we had a very limited amount of development on the car,” Horner told.
“So we were several million below the cap last year, and because accident damage and development – they’re huge costs.
“Obviously this year, the biggest handicap we have is that lack of wind tunnel time, it’s significantly less runs in a week than any of our competitors, so we have to be very disciplined on where we focus our development.”
Regarding those who believe Red Bull hasn’t been punished harshly enough this year for violating the cost cap in 2021,”Believe me the lack of wind tunnel time we have compared to our competitors is a massive compromise. If wind tunnels don’t count, why don’t we get rid of them?
“It’s easy to throw shade when you’re not performing. It’s one of the things in F1 that will always continue to happen. I’m just incredibly proud of the job that our team is doing with the constraints and handicap we have, to be performing at the level we have this year.”
Lewis Hamilton has acknowledged that he is “concerned” about potential violations, while George Russell believes that repeat violators should face harsher penalties.
According to Toto Wolff, the teams are in contact with the cost cap auditors regarding their applications.
“They came back with tonnes of questions to lots of teams and that shows how robust the process is, which is good,” said Wolff.
“Strong auditors are beneficial for F1. We need to stop any kind of unintentional or intentional breach of the cost cap. It’s like technical and sporting regulations.
“The big teams have thousands of people and various projects – commercial and non-commercial. For us it’s a bit easier because we have everything in one entity. The employees are all in one place and you can see where they have been attributed.
“It becomes more complex when you have more variety of subsidiaries. I’ve never been shy of saying with the 2026 regulations we should get rid of all of that overall.
“In the real world, it’s quite a challenge because we are making revenue and money with our engineering projects. That means we cannot assign a person who is working in F1, not even for a minute, into non-F1. But I think it’s the right thing to do for the sport to say ‘this is F1 and this is not F1’. The moment someone spends 10 seconds on an F1 project you should be fully in F1. That’s the way we need to go.”
An FIA spokesperson said: “We would like to reiterate the ongoing process preceding financial regulation certification for the teams – none of which have been informed of their certification status.
“The auditing fieldwork is still ongoing and is scheduled to conclude in the upcoming weeks, after which there will be a period required for the finalisation of the review.
“There is not, and has never been, a specific deadline for certification, and any suggestions of delays to this process or potential breaches are completely unfounded – the Cost Cap Administration will formally communicate its findings according to the procedure set out in the Financial Regulations.
“The timeframe is intentionally not fixed in order not to prejudice the robustness and the effectiveness of the review.”