Christian Horner left 'appalled' by cost cap claims in debate with McLaren chief Zak Brown


    Red Bull boss Christian Horner has revealed that he is ‘appalled’ by the accusations of rivals claiming that his team had cheated. The FIA found that Red Bull’s spending last year exceeded the budget cap.

    McLaren’s Zak Brown submitted a letter as part of the investigation which was leaked to the media, where he claimed that any form of rule breach should be ruled as ‘cheating’. Though Horner felt that he was not in any position to make those claims and didn’t shy away from addressing the matter in a joint press conference ahead of the US Grand Prix.

    He said: “Obviously Zak’s letter, which wasn’t copied to us but we’ve had sight of that letter, was tremendously disappointing. “For a fellow competitor to be accused of cheating, to accuse you of fraudulent activity is shocking. It’s absolutely shocking.

    “Without the facts, without any knowledge of the details, to be making that kind of accusation. We’ve been on trial because of public accusations since [the race in] Singapore. The rhetoric of cheats, the rhetoric that we have had this enormous benefit, the numbers that have been put out in the media are miles off reality.

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    “The damage that that does the brand, to our partners, to the drivers, to our workforce, in an age where mental health is prevalent, we are seeing significant issues in our workforce. We are getting kids that are being bullied in playgrounds that are employees’ children — that is not right through fictitious allegations from other teams.

    “You cannot go around just making that kind of allegation without any fact or substance. We are absolutely appalled at the behaviour of some of our competitors.” Brown responded to the comments about his letter though, telling Horner that he never outright claimed that Red Bull had cheated.

    Instead, Brown’s document commented on what he felt the repercussions should be for a breach of the rules, regardless of the team. He explained: “My letter set out that if a team spent more than the cap, they’re going to gain an advantage. We’re not taking a view of whether they did or didn’t. My letter was if someone has, these are the things that should be addressed.

    “I didn’t mention any team, it was a general response now that we are into the cost cap era, here’s what we think the ramifications are.” Red Bull have held talks with FIA over the past 10 days, though no agreement has been reached on the punishment for the ‘minor breach’ at this stage.


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