Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the cost cap penalty his team received last year is already hurting its car development heading into 2023.
The FIA handed out a $7million fine and reduced Red Bull’s wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) time over a period of 12 months after the team was found guilty of a minor overspend breach, having been 1.6% over the cost cap in its 2021 accounts. Horner says the restrictions are hampering the team but that it is trying to negate their impact as much as possible.
“We’re probably 25% almost of the way through that penalty, and of course it has an effect,” Horner told RACER. “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 they’re 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.
“So it’s another challenge. 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.”
Despite being hit by a penalty, Horner is a fan of the cost cap era of Formula 1, although he still feels there are a number of areas that need addressing as teams and power unit manufacturers gain experience.
“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.
“I think that the regulations are still very immature, they’re only in their second year. 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.
“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.”