Horner hits back at Mercedes duo for cost cap comments

BUDAPEST, July 21 (Reuters) – Red Bull boss Christian Horner hit back at Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on Friday for suggesting his dominant team got off lightly last year for a breach of Formula One’s cost cap.

Red Bull were fined $7 million last season for a ‘minor overspend’ in 2021, with a further punishment of 10% less wind tunnel time over the year on top of an already reduced amount linked to success on track.

Hamilton, whose team have been playing catch-up since early 2022, said at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Thursday that Red Bull had not received a big punishment while Russell told reporters it “didn’t fit the crime”.

“Believe me, the hit that we’ve taken with the lack of wind tunnel time that we have compared to our competitors is a massive compromise,” Horner told Sky Sports television.

“If wind tunnels don’t count then why don’t we just get rid of them?

“It’s always easy to throw shade when you’re not performing. It’s one of the things in Formula One that will always continue to happen.”

Mercedes won an unprecedented eight constructors’ titles in a row until the rules changed for 2022, with Red Bull dominant since then.

Hamilton, the sport’s most successful driver, has not won a race since 2021.

Red Bull have won every race this season, with leading double world champion Max Verstappen 99 points clear of team mate Sergio Perez, and are chasing a 12th win in a row this weekend, one more than McLaren managed in 1988.

They have won 20 of the last 21 races and arrived at the Hungaroring with an upgraded car sporting changes to the sidepods with shallower radiator intakes.

“I’m just incredibly proud of the job that our team’s doing with the constraints and handicap that we have,” said Horner.

“To be performing at the level we have this year, to have achieved 11 straight victories…it’s been an outstanding achievement.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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