Russell laments ‘terrible lap’ as Mercedes loses ‘our must-have pole’ to Verstappen

Christian Horner says Red Bull “reluctantly accepts” their “draconian” penalties for breaching budget cap regulations, but feels some rival Formula 1 teams owe them an apology.

Red Bull was fined $7m (£6.1m) on Friday and cut 10% of allowed aero research for overspending last year after reaching a ” rupture accepted” (ABA) with the FIA.

Motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA, has revealed Red Bull was guilty of spending €2.2m (£1.9m) more than it was allowed to do last season, which ended in spectacular fashion when Max Verstappen won his first world title.

In addition to being hit with a hefty fine, builder champions have also seen the time they can spend using their wind tunnel or computational fluid dynamics reduced by 10% over a one-year period.

“We could have considered a period of 12 months to end this situation [if they had not accepted the ABA]”, said Horner during a press conference at the Mexican Grand Prix.

“With the amount of speculation, commentary and sniping going on in the paddock, we felt it was in everyone’s interest – our interest, the FIA’s interest, in the interest of F1 – to say ‘we close the book’, and we close the book here and today.

“We accept the penalties, reluctantly, but we accept them.”

Horner says Red Bull will be significantly impacted by the sanction imposed next season.

“The most drastic part is the sporting penalty, which is a 10% reduction in our ability to use our wind tunnel and aerodynamic tools,” he added.

“I’ve heard people report today that it’s an insignificant amount. Let me tell you now, it’s a huge amount. It’s between a quarter and half a second of a turn.

“That 10% will impact our ability to perform on track.”

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown said last week that failure to meet the budget cap amounted to “cheating”, a claim that Red Bull chief Horner called “fictional”.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who was denied a record eighth world title when Verstappen claimed a dramatic and controversial victory at the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, has warned that a “slap on the wrist” for Red Bull would simply encourage further infringements.

Horner doesn’t think Red Bull should apologize.

“I think we’re probably due to an apology from some of our rivals for some of the claims they’ve made,” he said.

“We don’t apologize for the way we played, the way we acted. We take the chin that there are lessons to be learned, and potentially mistakes were made in our submission, which with the benefit with hindsight and 20-20 vision, anyone can be a specialist.

“But there was no intent, there was nothing dishonest, and there was certainly no cheating, which has been alleged in some corners. So I don’t think we have to apologize.

“We took our hammering in public, we took a very public hammering through the accusations that were made by other teams. Our drivers were booed on the circuits, and the reputational damage that was caused by allegations have been made. Now is the time for this to stop and move on.

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