F1 expert Martin Brundle believes that rival bosses have got Christian Horner ‘on the ropes’ after Red Bull were finally punished by the FIA for breaching last year’s cost cap. The Red Bull team principal called a press conference on Friday to address the debacle, which has upset the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren.
Horner has faced tough questions from the media in recent weeks after the FIA’s end-of-season audit found them to have breached last year’s £114million spending cap. Some called for their 2021 points total to be docked after Max Verstappen’s narrow world title win over Lewis Hamilton.
Instead, the FIA dished out a £6m fine and reduced Red Bull’s wind tunnel time by 10 per cent for the next 12 months. Horner insisted that his team have no reason to apologise, instead demanding that rivals who accused them of ‘cheating’ should apologise to them.
Brundle, who previously called on the FIA to ‘hurt’ Red Bull in order to set a strong precedent over future budget cap breaches, claims that Horner is now feeling the heat and expects the likes of Wolff and McLaren boss Zak Brown to keep turning the screw.
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“Christian and Red Bull are on the ropes over this and I fully expect Toto and Zak and others to keep punching, because they have got them on the ropes,” Brundle told Sky Sports F1. “That is the nature of this little crucible we live in.
“Minor breach is wrong because everybody is super upset about £432,000. A minor breach goes up to £5.7m, a full year’s development budget, clearly makes no sense. A breach is a breach, there should be a rounding number, £200,000 maximum and then you have got to justify it. It has got to be the way otherwise the terminology suggests it is not very serious.”
“But it’s just about the limit where we believe we can be competitive in the years to come despite the restrictions in the hours dedicated to wind tunnel. It’s an enormous competitive disadvantage.
“Our wind tunnel is one of the first to be built. In terms of the turnaround time and the sensitivity to heat, we need even longer before we can find the right one temperature as it’s not state of the art. We can’t miss a shot. What we take into the wind tunnel has to work. We can’t afford to make any mistakes.”