Christian Horner has reiterated that he is confident Red Bull stayed within Formula 1’s budget cap rules last season, as the FIA prepares to release its conclusions following an investigation into whether the team has exceeded the cap. .
Reports emerged at the Singapore Grand Prix that Red Bull – and Aston Martin – had spent more than the $145 million budget cap during Max Verstappen’s title-winning season, but Red Bull’s team principal Horner repeatedly denied claims of the hand.
Sergio Perez took a strong win for the team in Singapore, while Verstappen could only finish seventh but remains on track to defend the drivers’ title at the next round in Japan this weekend.
As the teams travel to the next round, the FIA will review all teams’ financial entries and may impose sanctions for a rule violation, which could potentially alter the outcome of last year’s championship as Verstappen nips Lewis Hamilton defeated.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had described it as an “open secret” in the paddock that two teams overspent last year and that it gave them a material advantage that was unfair. However, after Sunday’s race, Horner reiterated his belief that the team was well within the regulations.
When asked if he was nervous about the FIA ruling, Horner was optimistic. “No. We are confident in our submission,” he said. “Our audit has been signed off by our auditors. We believe we are well within the limit.”
The rules distinguish two types of budget ceiling breaches, those of less than 5% that are considered minor and expenditures above those that are considered a serious material breach. The sanctions that the governing body may impose on the latter include the deduction of points or exclusion from the championship.
Earlier this weekend, Horner had described some of Wolff’s comments as defamatory and threatened possible legal action, which he said were still on the table.
“What I said on Saturday absolutely still stands,” he said. “We will consider all our options. It was totally unacceptable to make a completely baseless claim – and on the basis of what knowledge? Where is this information source?
“It was a confidential submission between the team and the FIA. I have no idea of our rivals’ compliance. So where does that information supposedly come from?”
Verstappen has a 104 point lead in the championship over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and 106 points over his teammate Pérez. With five laps to go, he will secure his second title when he is 112 points ahead of both drivers after the Suzuka race. A win is enough if Leclerc finishes lower than second.