Christian Horner wants Red Bull budget-cap breach wrangle ‘resolved this weekend’

Sam Cooper
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner at the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka, October 2022.

Red Bull's Christian Horner at the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka, October 2022.

Christian Horner says he hopes Red Bull’s discussions with the FIA over an alleged budget-cap breach will be concluded by the end of the United States Grand Prix weekend.

The issue of Red Bull and the budget cap has been pretty much all anyone has talked about since the Monday after the Singapore Grand Prix, with the FIA confirming they had committed a minor breach of the budget-cap rules.

Horner was spotted speaking with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on the opening day of action in Austin as both parties work towards a resolution.

The Red Bull boss confirmed they have been negotiating an accepted breach agreement (ABA) with the FIA and was hopeful the process would be concluded sooner rather than later.

“The process as per the regulations is we’ve been invited to enter into an ABA which is, for a minor breach and procedural breach, that you have the opportunity to discuss with the FIA and present your case, your position,” he said during a press conference.

“We are in that process and have been for pretty much the last 10 days or so, going backwards and forwards with the FIA.

“I hoped for it to be resolved before this weekend. I’m hopeful it can be resolved during this weekend, but should that not happen the next process is it goes to the cost-cap administration panel and then beyond that there’s the International Court of Appeal so it could draw it out for another six, nine months.

“Which is not our intention, we want closure on 2021. We’ve had some healthy and productive discussions with the FIA and I’m hopeful of being able to reach a conclusion in the near future.”

Horner refused to clarify exactly what the penalty offered to them is, but said once everything had been sorted he would describe in detail the process and what their position was.

“What is the penalty? I can’t tell you that obviously, it’s a confidential discussion between ourselves and the FIA,” he said. “What I will say is once hopefully this situation is concluded there will be complete transparency and I will talk you through the reasoning behind the submission and the position we had.

“Why we felt each of the line items that have been challenged, we believe there’s a contrary position. It should be transparent. The whole thing should be transparent. There’s not going to be a secret deal. I think it would be absolutely above board – this is very different to previous situations.”

He was also asked if any overspend, no matter how minor, had provided an on-track advantage, but Horner said Red Bull had “zero benefit” from it.

“What you have got to look at is what are the relevant costs? And what are the relevant costs within the cap and what’s outside of the cap? That’s where the interpretation comes from. Our view is that our relevant costs are within the camp,” added Horner.

“Now obviously, we are in discussion with the FIA about what those costs are and what are mitigating potential circumstances. So we had zero benefit from a development perspective or an operational perspective, either for 2021 or for 2022.”

Horner also reacted angrily to comments from his counterparts including Zak Brown, whom he was sat next to during the press conference.