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McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has struck out at Christian Horner‘s press conference after Red Bull were finally slapped with their penalty for breaching last season’s cost cap. It’s not the first time friction has arisen between Horner and McLaren as CEO Zak Brown verbally went head to head with the Red Bull boss last week.
While sitting next to each other to face reporters, Horner slammed Brown for a letter he wrote on ‘cheating’ to the FIA. The final audit concluded that Red Bull were guilty of a ‘minor’ spending cap breach in 2021 and it is thought that they overstepped the £114million cut-off by around £1.9m.
Rival teams and a selection of F1 experts called on the FIA to dish out a punishment that would sting Red Bull, given the advantage that the overspend may have given them in Max Verstappen’s narrow world title victory last year.
But many were left deflated to learn that, under the terms of an ‘Accepted Breach Agreement’ (ABA), Red Bull have accepted a £6m fine and a 10 per cent reduction in wind tunnel time over the next 12 months.
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Horner called a press conference on Friday to address the saga ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix. The 48-year-old explained the ‘enormous’ hit his team would suffer on wind tunnel development but claimed it was time to ‘take it on the chin and move on’.
“I didn’t listen to [the press conference] because I can imagine it was another fairytale hour, probably,” Seidl told Sky Sports F1. “I’ve got no interest in that. It’s good to see the FIA did a good job in terms of doing the audit. Nine teams got it right and it was confirmed that one team was clearly in breach so that’s a positive outcome.
“But on a negative side, from my point of view, the penalty doesn’t fit the breach. I just hope that moving forward we have stricter penalties in place. I think there’s absolutely no reason to be in breach this year. We had good discussions earlier this year with all teams, with the FIA, with Formula 1 regarding these topics.
“That’s why the cost cap was also adjusted and was also made clear in this meeting from all teams, from the FIA’s side that there’s absolutely no reason after this positive decision in the interest of the sport that there’s any breach at the end of this year. I just hope that if there’s any breach again this year, as I said before, that it also needs up being an appropriate penalty.”
Top honours have already been decided in 2022 with Verstappen crowned world champion for a second time earlier this month and Red Bull sealing the Constructors’ Championship with a strong showing in Austin last weekend.
Mexican Sergio Perez, ahead of his home race, posted the fifth-fastest lap time in FP2 on Friday with Verstappen trailing just behind. Meanwhile, there is hope for Mercedes to notch an elusive win after glowing reviews from both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who both finished in the top four.
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