Steiner tells Horner ‘start saving now’ over budget cap worries

Jon Wilde
Christian Horner and Guenther Steiner during a press conference. Spa-Francorchamps August 2020.

Christian Horner and Guenther Steiner during a press conference at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps August 2020.

Guenther Steiner has responded to Christian Horner’s comment that some teams may not be able to afford to attend every race this year with a “start saving money” message.

Horner recently made a staggering claim that “seven teams would probably need to miss the last four races to come within the [budget] cap this year” – although clearly that would be very unlikely to happen as they would find ways to ensure their cars remained on the track.

The backdrop, besides the reduction in the budget cap to $140million this season, is the impact of rising global inflation and energy prices that mean considerably higher costs are being incurred by the 10 constructors to keep running.

Discussions about increasing the cap as a consequence of inflation levels have been taking place, but as yet nothing has been rubber-stamped.

Haas are among the teams at the lower end of the scale in terms of budget, especially having lost their main sponsor this year, and their team principal Steiner has been quizzed on the remarks from his counterpart at Red Bull – a team with much greater resources at their disposal.

Max Verstappen leads a Haas. Saudi Arabia March 2022
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen leads a Haas. Saudi Arabia March 2022

“You need to start [saving money] because there are still six months to go,” Steiner told reporters.

“If you cannot save money for the last four races then start saving money now. That’s business.

“If [Red Bull] don’t do the last four races, there are nine teams very happy about it because they won’t get any more [championship revenue] next year and we can divide it.

“So we are happy people and for sure Ferrari will be happy if they are not at the last four races.

“He (Horner) is saying you cannot make it but as a businessman, you need to make it at the end of the day.

“You guys (the media) need to make it. If you guys have a budget but you fly business [class] all year and then you say ‘boss, I can’t do the last four races because I’ve run out of money’, what would he say?

“‘Should you not have flown economy at the beginning of the year?’ You need to manage.”


Steiner has also said a straightforward increase in the budget cap may not be the ideal solution as he fears the top teams would simply spend the extra money on more car upgrades rather than offsetting the increased operational costs.

“Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari would bring one or two extra updates to the track, which would eventually cancel each other out, and the only result would be to widen the gap to the rest of the teams,” said the Italian.