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MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 16: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the pitwall during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 16, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Horner: We were several million below the cap in 2022

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 16: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on from the pitwall during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 16, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Christian Horner revealed Red Bull are a several million dollars below the 2022 Formula 1 cost cap, as teams’ submissions are currently under FIA evaluation.

Horner’s statement comes after recent rumors over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend claimed at least a couple of teams have breached the cap.

Red Bull have been found to have breached the $140-Million cap back in 2021 and have been fined $7-Million for that, while their wind tunnel time was slashed by 10%.

When asked about Red Bull’s situation concerning the 2022 cap, now $135-Million; Horner told Sky Sports F1: “Last year, Max [Verstappen] damaged one front wing and Checo [Perez] had a crash in Montreal, and again we had a very limited amount of development on the car.

“So we were several million below the cap last year, and because accident damage and development – they’re huge costs,” he revealed.

There were several concerns voiced recently, claiming the Red Bull’s penalty was not sufficient, given their current dominance, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell recently requesting stiffer penalties.

Commenting on that Horner said: “Obviously this year, the biggest handicap we have is that lack of wind tunnel time, it’s significantly less runs in a week than any of our competitors, so we have to be very disciplined on where we focus our development.

“Believe me the lack of wind tunnel time we have compared to our competitors is a massive compromise. If wind tunnels don’t count, why don’t we get rid of them?

“It’s easy to throw shade when you’re not performing,” he added, taking a swipe at the Mercedes drivers. “It’s one of the things in F1 that will always continue to happen. I’m just incredibly proud of the job that our team is doing with the constraints and handicap we have, to be performing at the level we have this year.”

Unintentional or intentional breach of the cap should be stopped

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff shed some light on the FIA’s audit process of the 2022 F1 cap, while sharing his opinion on the changes that should be done in order to prevent the teams from breaching the cap.

“They came back with tonnes of questions to lots of teams and that shows how robust the process is, which is good,” he said.

“Strong auditors are beneficial for F1. We need to stop any kind of unintentional or intentional breach of the cost cap. It’s like technical and sporting regulations.

“The big teams have thousands of people and various projects – commercial and non-commercial. For us it’s a bit easier because we have everything in one entity. The employees are all in one place and you can see where they have been attributed,” the Austrian revealed.

“It becomes more complex when you have more variety of subsidiaries. I’ve never been shy of saying with the 2026 regulations we should get rid of all of that overall.

“In the real world, it’s quite a challenge because we are making revenue and money with our engineering projects. That means we cannot assign a person who is working in F1, not even for a minute, into non-F1. But I think it’s the right thing to do for the sport to say ‘this is F1 and this is not F1’.

“The moment someone spends 10 seconds on an F1 project you should be fully in F1. That’s the way we need to go,” Wolff concluded.

The FIA denies the breach reports

Since the rumors emerged that some teams have been found in breach of the 2022 F1 cost cap, the FIA has moved to deny these claims, while giving an update on the audit process.

The sport’s governing body said in a statement: “We would like to reiterate the ongoing process preceding financial regulation certification for the teams – none of which have been informed of their certification status.

“The auditing fieldwork is still ongoing and is scheduled to conclude in the upcoming weeks, after which there will be a period required for the finalisation of the review.

“There is not, and has never been, a specific deadline for certification, and any suggestions of delays to this process or potential breaches are completely unfounded – the Cost Cap Administration will formally communicate its findings according to the procedure set out in the Financial Regulations.

“The timeframe is intentionally not fixed in order not to prejudice the robustness and the effectiveness of the review,” the FIA statement concluded.