Horner criticises FIA-Ferrari engine deal and “false economy” of budget cap

2020 F1 season

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is still frustrated over the private settlement Ferrari reached with the FIA over its power unit.

He also criticised attempts by rival teams to further reduce the budget cap which is due for introduction next year and said the FIA will not be able to enforce it.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Horner said the FIA’s deal with Ferrari “has left a bad taste in people’s mouths”.

The FIA began investigating Ferrari’s power unit last year. The sport’s governing body introduced changes to the regulations as a result of its investigations, but agreed not to reveal what Ferrari had been doing.

“The hardest thing to deal with is the lack of transparency,” said Horner.

Formula 1 team principals are due to hold another video conference this week for further discussions on potential changes to the 2021 budget cap in order to eases the final pressures on some teams.

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McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has argued strongly in favour of lowering the $175 million cap to $100 million. But Horner described some calls for a low cap as “opportunism” and cast doubt on whether any kind of budget cap can be enforced.

“Everybody’s cloth is cut differently and in this business, everybody will spend what they can afford,” he said. “It’s like a balloon: if you squeeze it, the air will go somewhere else.

“It’s a false economy, the cap, and it will be impossible to police, because every corporate entity is different. Ferrari report one set of accounts for their entire business, across road cars and F1. How on earth are you going to unpick that?

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 13 comments on “Horner criticises FIA-Ferrari engine deal and “false economy” of budget cap”

    1. Kind of satisfying to see this clown throwing toys out of his pram. He’s just afraid that FIA would keep a close eye on Red Bull – Toro Rosso relationship, lower it as much as possible.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        4th May 2020, 15:09

        He’s just afraid that FIA would keep a close eye on Red Bull – Toro Rosso relationship

        Having a satellite team actually makes it easier to stay below the budget cap as you can ‘transfer price’ the costs between both teams and maximise the total spend, @pironitheprovocateur.

    2. David Beverley
      4th May 2020, 15:03

      Let’s be honest, Ferrari could run a jet car & the FIA would look the other way

        1. …and they’d still come second.

          1. Indeed @aussierod

            I have to say, coming from Horner, one of the big drivers behind the current superfast cars that can hardly overtake because he believed that Mercedes (and Ferrari I suppose) were only winning because of their engine spending (and was against the new wing last year, which at least made it less bad than it would have been otherwise), whose team since then has had three years of not being on pace at the start of the year, taking them out of the championship fight from the start.I guess he too is happy to spend a lot more than the midfield to be a sort of sup-top team, fighting for wins, talking big, but never quite getting back to the top? Or maybe he thinks that with less budget legally spendable he’d sink into the midfield?

            I don’t know that the cost-cap will be policed sufficiently well, but as far as I know, teams have the burden of prove, not the FIA, in showing they complied. I agree with Horner that the FIA/Ferrari settlement doesn’t inspire confidence that in case of non-compliance the rules will be applied equally by the FIA, but that’s no reason to stay stuck in a world where coming third costs you over 300 million dollars – maybe do it for ‘only’ 145 million?

    3. How old is Christian? He’s certainly not a child is he!, and neither are the drivers to that matter (just yet)!! Sure he has some vaild points, but equally he’s looking out for number 1 and that which he is responsible for. Just like kings, queens, presidents, emperors and the like, he wants to dominate. I sometimes just wish they all raced in Formula Fords.

    4. Horner is a man of his words.

    5. He’s pretty much nailed it in one phrase

      “everybody will spend what they can afford”

      Lowering the cap will only cause a lot of redundancies from the top few teams – it’s not like the lower teams will increase their spending to pick up those that lost their jobs.

      The bottom half of teams won’t suddenly go “lets spend more money because now we can be competitive” because they haven’t got the money to spend.

      1. @dbradock So what? The whole point is that the smaller teams don’t need to spend more money, but will have a more competitive budget because the bigger budgets get capped to a lower level.

        The only thing I worry about is that the smaller will actually start spending less money. Especially the “also ran” teams that are just there to be there. Spending half of what the cap allows would be enough so they could scrape by in F1. Then they still would not be competitive.

        1. Which pretty much is exactly how it will be even with the lower cap. Once you take out the exclusions the bottom teams don’t get anywhere near the cap and will have no intention of doing so. Nothing will change competition wise.

      2. Look at the bigger picture….
        With the current ~$300m range, it’s impossible for a small team to pull in a big sponsor.
        With a range of only ~$40m between the front of the grid and the back, it makes lower teams relatively more attractive.
        Maybe within a couple of years like that they might have more money to compete closer to the cap. The closer the competition on the track, the closer the competition for sponsorship.

        1. Even if they don’t, there’s a lot of difference between spending a fifth of what the big teams are spending and spending half of what the big teams are spending.

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