Horner slams 'fictitious allegations' and insists Red Bull did not benefit from cap overspend

By Sports Desk October 22, 2022

Christian Horner says he has been "absolutely appalled" by the reaction from rival teams to the FIA's announcement that Red Bull had breached budget cap regulations.

The Formula One Constructors’ Championship leaders were found to have been in breach of the cost cap for a 2021 season in which Max Verstappen was crowned world champion for a first time.

A fierce response has been issued across the paddock, including from Red Bull team principal Horner's McLaren counterpart Zak Brown, who wrote a letter to the FIA outlining his belief that such a breach constitutes cheating.

Horner hit back at those comments and "fictitious allegations" from rivals on the grid.

"It's tremendously disappointing for a fellow competitor to be accusing you of cheating, to accuse you of fraudulent activity, it is absolutely shocking," he said in a press conference on Saturday.

"Without the facts, without any knowledge of the detail, making that kind of accusation. We've been on trial because of public accusation since Singapore, the rhetoric of cheats, that we've had this enormous benefit.

"Numbers have been put out in the media that are miles out of reality. The damage that it does to the brand, to our partners, to our drivers, to our workforce, in an age where mental health is prevalent, we're seeing significant issues now within our workforce.

"We're seeing kids being bullied in playgrounds, the children of our employees, that is not right, through fictitious allegations from other teams. You cannot go around accusing that kind of allegation without any facts or substance.

"We are absolutely appalled by the behaviour of some of our competitors."

Brown was also present at the press conference and offered an immediate response, clarifying that the letter was not accusatory to anyone in particular and merely expressed their views on what the punishment for breaches should be.

"My letter set out that I think that if a team spends more than the cap, they are going to get an advantage. The cap is a rule no different to the technical rules in the sport," he explained.

"We're not taking a view on whether there was or wasn't [a breach], my letter was on the basis that, if someone has, these are the things we think should be addressed, no different to if a ride height is incorrect or a flexi-wing.

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    Last season Red Bull won all but one of the 22 races, with Max Verstappen taking his third world championship in as many years.

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