Christian Horner is set to fight ‘cheating’ ahead of the US Grand Prix after Red Bull was found en route to Max Verstappen’s first title in a ‘minor’ violation of the £114m spending cap of the US formula 1
- Christian Horner comes out this week to defend ‘cheating’ claims in Austin
- Red Bull found to have exceeded £114m spending limit
- Lewis Hamilton was controversially beaten to the 2021 title by Max Verstappen
- Horner was only told an hour after Verstappen won the second title of cap violation
Red Bull boss Christian Horner will defend himself against accusations they ‘cheated’ to help Max Verstappen win the world title at a press conference ahead of the US Grand Prix in Austin last year.
His team were found in breach of the £114 million budget cap for 2021 and are still awaiting the sanction they will face more than a week after the news was made known to them.
Sports post can reveal that Horner was notified of the offense just an hour after Verstappen managed to keep his championship in Japan for a week last Sunday.
The timing struck Red Bull as pointy and contributed to their sense of persecution.
Since then, dialogue between the FIA and the Milton Keynes team has been minimal.
Christian Horner (left) will address charges of ‘cheating’ ahead of US Grand Prix in Austin
Red Bull was found to have crossed the £114m spending cap ‘small’ in 2021 en route to Max Verstappen (right) winning his first drivers’ world championship title
Red Bull, it is believed, wants the details made public so they can prove that as they see it, they didn’t spend too much for performance reasons – and instead insist that the overshoot is estimated to be around £1. 8 million, related to non-track areas: such as catering, sick pay, gardening leave, which together can amount to half or more of the total violation amount.
While Red Bull cannot say anything while the trial is underway, it is understood in their discretion that they claim that the interpretation of the use of unused parts was changed on June 16, three months after they submitted their audited accounts.
That came just over a fortnight after Shaila-Ann Roe left Mercedes, where she is said to have acted as legal adviser to team boss Toto Wolff, to join the governing body as secretary general.
Lewis Hamilton was denied a record eighth world championship by Verstappen last season
Verstappen passed Hamilton on the final lap of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the season finale to claim an extraordinary first world championship
The next public showdown for Horner will come on Saturday in Austin, where he will be grouped together in a press conference with Wolff and his other chief prosecutor, Ferrari’s Matteo Binotto.
At least he won’t have to confront McLaren’s Zak Brown, who has written to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem to draw a line between Red Bull and the word ‘cheating’. The details were leaked Monday.
Red Bull will have to decide whether to accept the accepted breach agreement (ABA) – likely both financially and sportingly – or to challenge the ruling.
Agreeing with the ABA would be an admission of guilt, but going the legal route would put them in their doomsday scenario of a tougher sanction that could jeopardize Verstappen’s 2021 triumph, giving Lewis Hamilton an eighth crown, who is on the top of the list. final round in Abu Dhabi in December.
The FIA declined to comment.
McLaren chief Zak Brown (right) has called for harsh penalties for teams breaking F1’s budget cap, while Mercedes boss Toto Wolff (left) wants to see a precedent for punishment