Max Verstappen caught in major twist over Red Bull controversy

Christian Horner and Max Verstappen are pictured in conversation inside the Red Bull garage.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the penalty handed down to the team for breaching the F1 cost cap is 'draconian'. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has complained about the severity of conditions imposed on the team for 2023 for their breach of the F1 cost cap in the 2021 season.

The team decided to 'settle begrudgingly' after the FIA discovered they had excluded a total of 13 different items from their cost cap submission for Max Verstappen's 2021 championship season.

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While no points from 2021 will be forfeited, Red Bull must pay a $10.9 million fine, as well as having the amount of time permitted for aerodynamic development next season reduced by 10 per cent.

Horner described the punishment as 'draconian' and suggested the aero development penalty could cost the team as much as half a second per lap next season.

Red Bull's total breach of the cap added up to roughly $3.4 million, however the FIA acknowledged this would have been significantly reduced had a tax credit been applied correctly to the team's calculations.

The team has 30 days to pay the fine, with Horner saying it was an 'enormous amount of money' to have to come up with in such a short time.

“I hear people say it’s not a severe penalty, but 10 per cent less wind tunnel time and other aerodynamic tools is a draconian penalty,” Horner said

“That can cost up to half a second a lap. It will have an on our ability to perform on track next year.”

Horner insisted none of their overspend on the 2021 cost cap had gone towards developing the car.

Verstappen clinched a somewhat contentious victory at the season ending Abu Dhabi GP to win last year's world champion ahead of Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutch driver made it back to back champions this season, albeit in far more dominant fashion, securing the title at the United States GP.

"Let me tell you now, that is an enormous amount," Horner said of the wind tunnel usage reduction.

"That represents anywhere between a quarter and half a second's worth of lap time.

"That comes in from now, that has a direct effect on next year's car and it will be in place for a 12-month period."

Christian Horner speaks out after Red Bull punished for cost cap breach

Horner said his team had accepted an agreement with the FIA because it was in the sport's interest to close the book on the matter rather than risk it rumbling on for months and potentially to an appeal court.

"We take it on the chin. Now is the time to put it to bed and move on," he said, repeating his assertion that the overspend had zero benefit to the team's performance and providing details of what had happened.

He said Red Bull had submitted accounts, with more than 70,000 line items Stg 3.7 million ($A6.68 million) under the cap, but some of the items they had assumed were excludable turned out not to be.

They included the entire company's staff catering costs, amounting to 1.4 million ($A2.5 million), redundancy pay-offs and long-term sick pay.

In addition to a multi-million dollar fine, Red Bull will also be able to spend 10% less time on aerodynamic development for next season. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
In addition to a multi-million dollar fine, Red Bull will also be able to spend 10% less time on aerodynamic development for next season. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

"Had the person died ... the cost would have been excludable," said Horner. "Thankfully, they didn't die, but therefore the cost was includable for that sick period."

"Any of you who have visited Milton Keynes have contributed to the overspend," he teased reporters about the team's food bill.

Horner refused to apologise, saying there had been no cheating or intent to deceive, and felt the penalty had set a precedent and would serve as a deterrent for the future.

He hoped the fine would be put to good use by the FIA.

With AAP

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