Red Bull boss Christian Horner has criticized McLaren’s Zak Brown for the ‘shocking’ cheating allegations, saying there have been ‘weeks of effective abuse’ over a Formula 1 cost cap breach without the team is still competitive and has “no advantage”.
At an emotional press conference at the United States GP – Horner’s first press conference since Red Bull was accused of a ‘minor’ breach of F1’s US$145m spending limit during F1’s winning season Max Verstappen – there is no confirmation of the penalty or details of “productive” discussions with the FIA, but Horner remains an enthusiastic defender of his team.
The Red Bull team principal, sitting with Brown, was particularly offended by the letter from the McLaren CEO to the FIA last week, seen by Sky Sports, in which he said the failure to comply with the cost cap ” constitutes fraud”.
Horner alleges that the children of the employees were bullied as a result of the allegations.
“We’ve been judged by public opinion since Singapore [when reports of the Red Bull breach came out]. The fallacy of the cheats, that we have this huge advantage and the kids. The numbers given by the media are far from reality.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” Horner said. “It’s shocking that another opponent, with no facts, no details, could make this kind of accusation.
“The damage this is doing to the brand, to our partners, to our drivers, to our workforce… at a time when mental health is pervasive, we are looking at. see significant problems in its workforce. We see children being bullied in playgrounds, children of staff.
“You can’t just make these kinds of allegations based on any fact or content. We are absolutely appalled by the behavior of some of our competitors.”
“There’s been no question about Max’s performance and I think that’s to everyone’s interest. What’s particularly disappointing has been the response from some of our competitors, who are are making baseless allegations and are trying to take advantage and pressure the FIA for their own competitive advantage.” In response, Brown defended his letter, which did not mention Red Bull by name, but was sent shortly after their breach became known. “My letter says that if a team spends more than the limit, they get an advantage,” he said. “We have no idea whether they do it or not. My letter is that if someone does, those are things that need to be dealt with.
“I’m not referring to any teams, that’s a general reaction because now that we’re in an age of cost caps, this is what we think the ramifications are.” However, Horner claimed that Brown had “a very real recollection of the letter he wrote”.
“We were tried and tortured for three weeks. “It’s just not right. It has to stop.” Horner also refuted claims that Red Bull may have benefited from overspending, with the FIA dropping around $1.8 million. It is also believed that Red Bull’s initial bid was $4.5 million below the limit, but unexpected additional costs – such as unused spare parts for their vehicle – exceeded they.
“You have to look at the costs involved [under the cap], which costs and which don’t,” says Horner. “Our view is that our associated costs are within the outlays. “We are in discussions with the FIA about the costs and potential mitigating circumstances. “We are not getting any benefit from a development or operations standpoint from 2021 or 2022 from the way we operate below the limit. Our bid is significantly lower.
“We are absolutely convinced that we have no advantage in 2021 or in 22, 23, 24. Some teams are even talking about 2026. It is completely fictional.”
- Red Bull’s Christian Horner says the team has benefited from nothing and is “appalled” by the cheating allegations
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