Red Bull’s Horner Glad the FIA Got a “New Couch” out of Team’s Budget Breach Fine

f1 grand prix of bahrain practice
Horner: FIA “Got a New Couch” from His Team’s FineLars Baron - Getty Images

It's safe to say that Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner is still not exactly thrilled by the way he and his team were treated when it was determined that the team had breached to series budget cap for 2021.

In October, Red Bull was found guilty of the "overspend breach" and ordered to pay a $7 million fine and take a 10% hit in wind tunnel time in 2023. The FIA determined late in 2022 after a lengthy audit that Red Bull exceeded the $145 million budget cap by 1.6%.

A sarcastic Horner said on Friday in Bahrain, site of Sunday's season-opening Grand Prix, that it was good to see that at least the FIA and its communications manager Tom Wood got something out of it.

"Well, it's great to see the fine being applied, so well," Horner said when asked Friday in Bahrain about the fallout of the ordeal. "We’ve got a new FIA couch, and Tom’s got a new suit. It’s great to see the funding into the FIA being spent very effectively."

Then Horner got real and said the team is working hard to overcome the reduced tunnel time.

"But, look, I mean, for us, you know, efficiency is a key word, and particularly with the handicap of losing 10% of your wind tunnel time," he said. "So, again, that's where the team have done an incredible job to turn up in a competitive manner. But of course, that handicap is for a 12-month period. So, you know, we have another eight, nine months still to go with it. And it means that we're going to have to be very selective and extremely efficient in how we develop this car. And of course, next year's car."

Horner added that the real hit could come in 2024, which would seem like quite a delayed penalty since the infraction occurred in 2021.

"It really depends if anything changes in the regulations," Horner said. "So you know, we're expecting stable regulations, but of course it is a disadvantage, a handicap, to have, not only the incremental (reduction in wind tunnel time) that you have by being first place in the championship, on top of that a further 10%.

"So we're 15% less time than (Ferrari) and 20% less than Mercedes and so on. That's a significant number, so for us it's all about being efficient, being effective in what we apply, and choose to test in the tunnel and how we develop both the 19 and, and the 20 car."