Red Bull brace for impact of cost cap penalty on lap time next season

Team boss Christian Horner calls cut in wind tunnel testing time by 10 per cent 'draconian'

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Team boss Christian Horner has stated that Red Bull's cost cap penalty could hit the 2022 Formula One world champions by as much as half a second a lap next season.

The governing body FIA announced a fine of $7 million on Red Bull for a breach of the $145 million 2021 cost cap. They will also have their wind tunnel testing time slashed by 10 per cent.

Horner said the fine was a significant sum but "the more draconian part is the sporting penalty".

"Let me tell you now, that is an enormous amount," he 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."

Horner said Red Bull, the team of double world champion Max Verstappen, were also "victims of our own success" with an additional reduction in wind tunnel use for winning the 2022 championship.

"We will have 15 per cent less wind tunnel time than the second-placed team in the constructors' championship and 20 per cent less than the third place," he said.

"So that 10 per cent put into reality will have impact on our ability to perform on track next year."

Formula One introduced the cap last year to rein in runaway spending and level the playing field, with the total reduced from $145 to $140 million this year. It is due to be $135 million next season.

The FIA announced on October 10 that Red Bull had a 'minor overspend' and also committed a 'procedural breach'.

Aston Martin, owned by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, also accepted they had committed a procedural breach and were fined $450,000.

Rivals had called on the FIA to come down hard on Red Bull, arguing that any breach brought carry-over benefits for this season and next, and some felt the punishment did not go far enough.

"From my point of view, the penalty doesn’t fit the breach. I just hope that moving forward we have stricter penalties in place," McLaren principal Andres Seidl told Sky Sports.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: "Overall, it’s good to see that there is a penalty, whether we deem it too low or too high."

Horner said the saga has not distracted Verstappen or teammate Sergio Perez, who on Sunday is trying to become the first Mexican driver to win the Mexico City Grand Prix. He’s also trying to finish second in the standings behind Verstappen.

Horner said Verstappen fairly won his 2021 championship. Verstappen, meanwhile, said he knows there are many who will never accept that title.

Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton in a controversial finish created when the since-fired race director made a late race change in protocol during the season finale that allowed Verstappen to pass Hamilton for the win and the championship.

“From my side I can [accept it], probably they can’t and will never be able to and that’s a problem for them to deal with,” Verstappen said.

Updated: October 29, 2022, 4:39 AM
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