Horner: Cost cap penalty is a handicap for sure

GrandPrix247 2022 team boss of the Year: Christian HornerChristian Horner, the Red Bull team boss, claimed the penalty his team received for breaching the 2021 Formula 1 cost cap is a handicap at the gear up for the 2023 season.

Red Bull were found to have breached the F1 cost cap over the 2021 season, and for that were consequently slapped with a $7-Million fine while their aero development time was slashed by 10% for 12 months.

While many believe Red Bull will still have an edge in 2023 despite the penalty, given how dominant they were in 2022, Christian Horner insists his team is at a disadvantage, but is keeping he faith in the “capable people” that work at Milton Keynes.

Penalty limiting Red Bull’s development work

Speaking on the matter with Racer, Horner said: “We’re probably 25% almost of the way through that penalty, and of course it has an effect.

“It’s limiting significantly, the amount of runs that we can do in our wind tunnel over each quarter. And I think that the team are having to adapt to that. And it just means you have to be a bit more focused, and more disciplined in what we put through the testing process within the tunnel or within our simulation tools,” he explained.

“So it’s another challenge,” Horner added. “And it’s a handicap for sure, coming into this year, but we’ve got very capable people that are looking to obviously extract the best that we possibly can and apply ourselves in the most efficient and effective way.”

Horner, however, hails the cost cap for making the F1 teams work more efficiently, reducing waste; he said: “I think the principle of it is great and it’s driven efficiency.

“If I look at the business now, compared to where it was four or five years ago, we’d have ended up with a lot of stock of spare parts that were brand new that had never been used, and then they’re just scrap. And so now you just can’t afford to have that. You’ve got to be so effective and efficient.

“So I think from that point of view, it has driven great efficiency into the business. It’s got rid of that wastage that was there that nobody saw previously,” the Briton reflected.

Cost Cap regulations are still very immature

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On the other hand, Horner believes the cost cap regulations still have a long way to go before they are perfected and fine tuned to deliver their full potential.

“I think that the regulations are still very immature, they’re only in their second year,” he told Racer. “So they’re still evolving, and being tuned and as they’re being introduced into the power unit side of the business as well – I think principally, it is a good thing for Formula 1, and it does create a more level playing field – I think there’s certain elements that still need to be to be tuned.”

Going further, Horner said: “At the moment, we’re seeing a discrepancy between chassis financial regs and engine financial regs that on the chassis side, they can have a Christmas party, on the power unit side, they can’t! So there’s certain things that I think need balancing up so there is a consistency across those caps. But I think on the whole, it’s a very positive thing.

“I think that perhaps there is still too much weight put upon them in that we’re still designing very expensive engines and very expensive cars, because the technical regs drive you towards that. And I think the technical and sporting regs, I think particularly on the chassis for 2026, we need to look more at the cost drivers which are driven through those technical regs, which will then in turn put less pressure on the budget cap itself.”

Red Bull are set to reveal their 2023 F1 car at an event in New York on February 3, 2023.