David Croft disputes Red Bull’s defence that overspend resulted in no benefits

Sam Cooper
Logo illustration for Red Bull Racing at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Logo illustration for Red Bull Racing.

Sky Sports’ David Croft has disputed Red Bull’s claim that their overspend of the cost cap had no benefit for their 2022 car.

Speaking publicly for the first time since Red Bull’s overspend was confirmed by the FIA in October, Christian Horner disagreed with the assessment that the team had benefited from the additional spending, which amounted to $500k once a tax credit was applied properly.

He argued that the team had expected to come well under the budget and that these kinds of problems were bound to occur within the first rule of such a significant change.

“What you have 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,” Horner said.

“Our view is our relevant costs are within the cap. Now obviously, we are in discussion with the FIA about what those costs are and what are mitigating potential circumstances. We had zero benefit from a development perspective or an operational perspective, either for 2021 or 2022.

“From the way we operated within the cap, our submission was significantly below the cap. We expected certain things to be potentially challenged or clarified, as is the process in a brand new set of regulations, but based on external, professional accounting third parties, the interpretation of those rules of a 52-page document to police this, we are very clear from our side.”

Sky Sports F1 commentator Croft did not agree with this assessment though and said that any kind of overspend had a benefit to a team, and also suggested there was a “shadow” hanging over the team’s title win.

“There’s a shadow hanging over it,” he told the broadcaster in a 2022 season review. “[It is a shame for Max Verstappen] because it’s not Max’s fault that the team have gone out and overspent by £432k.

“I take the point completely that the Verstappen camp are not hugely happy about that and however Red Bull say there was no benefit, there has to be a benefit because they were the only team that spent more than the cost cap allowed.

“So within that regard, there has to be a benefit in some way, shape or form from that overspend.”

Whatever benefit Red Bull did or did not receive for 2022, there can be little argument that they are entering the 2023 season on the back foot given the restrictions placed on them.

The Milton Keynes based team already had the smallest time in the wind tunnel as a result of winning the Constructors’ Championship, but that decreased further when the FIA handed them a 10% reduction as a penalty for breaking the cost cap.

Red Bull’s design guru Adrian Newey admitted to PlanetF1.com that he was unsure how big an effect the penalty will have on the 2023 car.

“It doesn’t help, of course,” he said. “It’s very difficult to know exactly how much of an effect it has.

“We’ve already had a bit of a penalty by winning the Constructors’ and then we’ve had this additional penalty from the cost cap shenanigans.

“So how it will affect us, it’s difficult to know but we’ve just got to do the best job we can.”

Read more: Christian Horner on Brazil fallout and the Verstappen-Perez duo moving forward