July 24, 2021 | News | No Comments
Christian Horner says Max Verstappen’s Silverstone crash has set Red Bull Racing back by an estimated $1.8 million, a significant amount that will have “massive ramifications” for the team’s budget cap.
Red Bull suffered a big blow on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix when Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at Copse corner.
In addition to the big points deficit that has allowed Mercedes and Hamilton to close in on Red Bull and Verstappen in F1’s respective championships, the financial penalty for the Milton Keynes-based squad is painful, especially within the context of this year’s $145 million cost cap limit.
With teams constrained financially, any unforeseen expense such as replacing a chassis and other hardware or componentry will inevitably come out of Red Bull’s 2021 budget, which could imply less capital available for next year’s car, the development costs of which are included in this year’s budget.
In his online column for Red Bull, Horner also confirmed that his team is still weighing its options regarding contesting with the FIA the 10-second penalty handed to Hamilton by the stewards “for causing a collision” at Silverstone.
“It is no secret that we felt at the time, and still feel, that Hamilton was given a light penalty for this type of incident,” wrote Horner.
“Given the severity of the incident and the lenient penalty, we are reviewing all data and have the right to request a review. We are therefore still looking at the evidence and considering all of our sporting options.
“The other significant factor is the cost-cap element of this. That crash has cost us approximately $1.8million and an accident like that has massive ramifications in a budget cap era.”
Further addressing last weekend’s clash, Horner responded to Toto Wolff’s reaction to Red Bull’s criticism of Hamilton and Mercedes. The Austrian admitting to feeling troubled by the “personal” attacks and the language used by Red Bull’s top brass, namely Horner and motorsport boss Helmut Marko.
“I would like to respond to some comments I have seen from Toto, who is quoted as saying our comments regarding Hamilton having caused the accident were “so personal”,” Horner said.
“I would like to make it clear. This was an on-track incident between two of the best drivers in the world.
“At the point in time when you have a driver in hospital and the extent of any injuries have not yet been made clear, your car has been written off and the stewards have penalised the driver seen to be responsible, it is natural that emotion comes into play, for all involved, whether you feel wronged or victorious.
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“I also felt the narrative that Max was being ‘overly aggressive’ at that stage was unjustified.
“You only have to look at the fact Max has zero penalty points on his licence and has not been found guilty of any on-track misjudgements in recent years.
“The aggressive 17-year-old F1 rookie Max Verstappen that Hamilton is referring to is not the Max Verstappen of today, just as Hamilton is not the same driver he was when he entered the sport.
“Both drivers are of course uncompromising in their driving style, but they are both highly skilled drivers with a great deal of experience.
“The reality is that Hamilton has met his match in a car that is now competitive, and I agree that both drivers need to show each other respect, but Hamilton was the aggressor on Sunday.”
Finally, Horner once again expressed his disappointment with the Mercedes team’s post-race celebrations at Silverstone, conducted while Verstappen was in hospital undergoing a battery of medical checks.
“I am also still disappointed about the level of celebrations enjoyed in the wake of the accident,” commented Horner.
“The Mercedes team were aware of the gravity of the crash with Max widely reported as having been hospitalised and requiring further checks.
“It is unimaginable not to inform your driver of the situation, moreover to protect your driver in case they do not show the necessary restraint in celebrating, particularly when it was as a result of an incident he was penalised for.”
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