Christian Horner will be ‘very surprised’ if Red Bull aren’t fully within 2022 budget cap

Thomas Maher
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on the grid. Abu Dhabi, November 2022.

Christian Horner looks down the grid before the race. Abu Dhabi, November 2022.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes his team will be in conformity with the 2022 F1 budget cap, but admitted that ‘nothing is 100%’.

Red Bull were one of three teams to fall foul of the newly-introduced financial regulations for 2021, once the FIA confirmed the outcome of the investigations into each team’s finances towards the end of 2022.

The regulations saw the introduction of a budget cap, restricting each team’s performance and car-related spend, meaning teams could only spend $145 million.

Red Bull were found to have committed a ‘Minor Overspend Breach’, resulting in the team being slapped with the second-highest ever fine in the sport’s history as well as a deduction of wind tunnel and CFD time for 2022.

Christian Horner: You can never be 100% sure

With attention now turning to the 2022 accounts, a year in which Red Bull clinched the Constructors’ Championship for the first time since 2013, Horner expressed confidence that his team remained under the budget cap limit for the season.

“You could never be 100% sure, but I think that certainly all the aspects that were a reason for us to be over in 2021 which, remember, it was the very first year of a set of very complicated regulations, we’re confident that we should be comfortably within the cap for 2022,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

“The amount of development we did and, particularly, crash damage that we had was significantly less than our two competitors. So, obviously, until you’ve got the certificate, nothing is 100%.

“But I’d be very surprised if we weren’t fully within the cap.”

Christian Horner hopeful of an earlier resolution for 2022

The furore surrounding the budget cap overspend happened quite late in 2022, coinciding with the tail end of the season, meaning the teams were having to focus on 2021 expenditure while engrossed in another competitive championship.

With the overspend from Red Bull uncovered at such a late stage of the year, the possibility of the transgression having an effect on the outcome of the 2021 title was clearly an unpalatable one, and Horner said he’s hopeful the 2022 submissions can be finalised at an earlier point during this year.

“Hopefully earlier than October,” he said. “June, July, I would have thought, would be a realistic target.”

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Asked whether it was possible for Red Bull to adjust their 2022 spending from October onwards after the overspend was uncovered, in order to ensure conformity for 2022, Horner referred to 2021-specific spending that isn’t likely to have played a part in their ’22 finances.

“At that point in time, 80% of the season is done,” he explained.

“But there were some effects that were one-off effects regarding personnel and sick pay and so on that related to only 2021.

“So when you remove those and make the adjustments on the other topics that were raised, I think we’re happy with where our submission [for 2022] will be.

“But, as I say, until you receive total conformance confirmation from the FIA, then nothing is 100%.”

Having had to work hard to bring down the team spend to ensure conformity with the budget cap, Horner said he now feels his team’s structure has been finalised to make it far easier going forward.

“Of course, the budget cap is a daily challenge,” he said.

“And now we have [Red Bull] Powertrains as well. But we’ve had to move people from high-profile positions. We’ve done that restructuring, during ’21, coming into ’22. And a small amount of that again in 22. So I think, structurally, we’re now equipped to deal with the cap.”