Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner was eagerly awaited at the official FIA press conference in Austin today.
The Briton has refused any interviews since arriving in the United States, preferring to focus on seeking a solution with the FIA and its president, Mohamed Ben Sulayem, regarding the sanctions his team faces for going over budget in 2021.
When questioned, Horner was adamant.
“The last point on this is that we are in a process with the FIA. We hope to wrap this up soon. At that point all the facts will be on the table and we will be able to talk openly about the cap and why we think our costs are perfectly aligned under the cap. limit”.
“So we are in a process and we are working with the FIA. They are doing their job, hopefully in the near future we will have a resolution.”
“It’s a new process. A complicated set of regulations, 52 pages. We went through the process in 2021, it was the first year of the complicated set of financial regulations. They have different interpretations from different accounting specialists. The FIA’s findings have been made public and we are in a voluntary process with the FIA. Hopefully we can finalize that in the near future, but that is where we are now.”
The British leader does not specify what the FIA’s offer is to take the blame.
“I can’t say, it’s confidential between us and the FIA. I can say that once the deal is done there will be full transparency and I will talk about everything.”
“It must be transparent, everything must be transparent. There will be no private and secret agreement. It is very different from previous situations (with Ferrari in 2019).”
“We are about ten days into this process. I was hoping it would be resolved before the Grand Prix and now I hope it will be resolved during the Grand Prix. If not, it will go to the spending cap management committee and this could go on for six or nine months. We now want to close out 2021. We have had productive discussions with the FIA and I am confident that we will reach a conclusion in the short term. F1, this situation needs to be resolved as soon as possible and there are many lessons to be learned from it.”
McLaren letter lambasted, children of employees would be harassed…
During the press conference, Horner was alongside Mattia Binotto (Ferrari) and Zak Brown (McLaren). The American’s letter to the FIA and the teams asking for exemplary sanctions in case of cheating was obviously not liked.
“Zak’s letter was not sent to us. It’s extremely disappointing that another competitor is accusing him of cheating, accusing him of fraudulent activity, it’s shocking. Without the facts, the details of taking this charge are not known.”
“We are being tried by public charges from Singapore, figures published in the media miles away from the case. The damage this is doing to the brand, to our partners, to our riders, to our staff is enormous. At a time when the mental health is important we see significant issues within our workforce kids being bullied on the playground kids of employees it’s not fair you can’t make those kinds of accusations without facts or substance we’re appalled by the behavior of our competitors”.
In response to Horner’s comments, Brown denied that his letter was actively directed against Red Bull, as Red Bull’s name was not expressly mentioned. What a pirouette!
“My letter explained that if someone, a team, spends more than the cap, they will get an advantage. And the cap is not a different rule from the technical rules of the sport. We take no position on whether or not they did.”
“My letter said: If anyone has, here are the things we think should be addressed. It’s no different. If the ride height is wrong, or a flex wing or whatever…
“I didn’t mention any teams. That was a general answer. Now if someone breaks that, here’s what we think are some of the ramifications to consider.”
A strong defense of Red Bull management
A direct question was asked: do you admit that your team spent more money than it should, knowing that the other 9 teams were able to comply with the regulations?
“No, absolutely not. We’re looking at the relevant costs within what the car is and outside of it. That’s where the interpretation comes from. We’ve talked to the FIA about what those costs are, but we didn’t have any development advantage, not even in 2021 or 2022, because of the way we operate in the car. Our accounting was significantly below the spending limit. We didn’t have any advantage in 2021, 2022 or 2023. That’s not true.”
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