Christian Horner reveals how Red Bull are taking positive attitude to budget cap penalty

Thomas Maher
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc trails Red Bull's Max Verstappen in Bahrain.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc trails Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Red Bull may be feeling the pinch of a reduced wind-tunnel testing programme this year, but Christian Horner is clinging to the positives.

Red Bull were hit with a $7 million fine towards the end of 2022, having been found in breach of the 2021 Financial Regulations after committing a Minor Overspend Breach over the course of the previous season.

Along with the financial penalty, the Red Bull team were given a 10% time penalty in terms of wind-tunnel development time, reducing this amount further from their already curtailed development time in light of being the reigning Constructors’ Champions.

While the effects of the penalty are yet to have a notable impact on Red Bull’s on-track competitiveness, it’s likely that trailing teams will be able to utilise their additional development time to close the gap on Red Bull’s performance lead as the season progresses and on into 2024.

Christian Horner: No fundamental RB19 issue has been very positive

Asked about the effects of the wind-tunnel time starting to bite Red Bull, Horner told the media that the strength of the RB19 has helped offset some of their initial concerns about how their season might unfold.

“I think it’s something you have to view over a 12-month period,” he told media, including, in Bahrain following Red Bull’s dominant 1-2 in the Grand Prix. recommends

The inside story from Pirelli on the new F1 2023 qualifying format trial
Christian Horner expects more Red Bull copycats: ‘One team adopted our theme and made gains’
Toto Wolff agrees with George Russell, expects Red Bull to win every race in F1 2023

“Because it’s not just this year’s car, it’s next year’s car. I think the really positive thing for us is that we’re not dealing with a fundamental issue that soaks up that resource and time.

“So it was vital for us to be able to cope, with that penalty, to have a solid starting point. I think that’s what the team have done a great job in achieving.”

Red Bull ‘not getting carried away’ by dominant 1-2

With the team coming into 2023 in full knowledge that they will have significantly less aero testing time than their immediate rivals, Horner said the extra push from his personnel has offset some of the effects of the penalty.

“I think it just focuses everybody’s mind,” he explained.

“It drives efficiency and what we’ve lost in wind tunnel time, we gained in motivation.

“I think it’s easy to overlook that and just what a great job the team has done over the winter. People have a very short memory in this business, and you’re as good as your last race and, today, we’re heroes. Tomorrow, it could be Ferrari, it could be Mercedes, it could be Aston Martin.

“So I think none of us are getting carried away with the result. It’s the start of a marathon, the surface of this track is quite unique. Let’s just wait and see what happens in Jeddah and Melbourne, and some of the other circuits, before drawing too many conclusions.”