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Red Bull chief Christian Horner launches extraordinary blast at McLaren boss Zak Brown amid bitter cost cap row

CHRISTIAN HORNER has launched into an extraordinary blast at McLaren boss Zak Brown as F1’s cost-cap row rumbles on.

Horner‘s Red Bull team are in discussions with the sport’s governing body, the FIA, after being accused of going over the £114million spending limit.

Horner has defended his team’s conduct amid allegations of cheating
Brown has accused Red Bull of cheating by exceeding the cost cap

The two are trying to thrash out a deal for their proposed punishment while Brown lobbied the FIA in a private letter to president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and copied in the F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali.

Brown said the overspend breach “constitute cheating” before he suggested a list of punishments for Red Bull, which has left Horner furious.

He said: “We have had sight of that letter, which wasn’t copied to us, and it is tremendously disappointing for a fellow competitor to be accusing you of cheating.

“To accuse you of fraudulent activity is shocking. For another competitor, without the facts and without any knowledge of the details to be making that sort of accusation.

“We have been on trial because of public accusations since Singapore, the rhetoric of cheats, the rhetoric that we have had this enormous benefit.

“The numbers put out in the media are miles out of reality and the damage that does to the brand, to our partners, to our drivers, to our workforce.

“In an age where mental health is prevalent, we’re seeing significant issues now within our workforce.

“We’re getting kids that are being bullied in playgrounds that are our employees’ children. That is not right through fictitious allegations from other teams.


“You cannot go around just making that kind of allegation without any facts or substance. So, we are absolutely appalled by the behaviour of some of our competitors.”

Brown saye he wrote the letter to be transparent, taking it upon himself to say how fellow team’s felt about the cost cap breach.

He said: “All the teams have opinions and some speak about it vocally, others don’t necessarily always bring forward.

“I thought it was important from a transparency standpoint. We all sit around the table. There’s a lot of times we discuss things openly and then there’s a lot of back-channelling and I thought I would just lay it out there.”

Horner, who refused to say what punishment he was haggling over, said his team have not gained from their overspend, believed to be around £1.8million.

And he said it was vital that the FIA come up with a solution to stop this farce from happening again, as this row – which relates to the 2021 season – could yet rumble on for another NINE MONTHS.

He added: “We have spent the last 10 days or so going backwards and forwards with the FIA. I hoped for it to be resolved before this weekend. I’m hopeful that it can be resolved during this weekend.

“But should that not not happen, the next process is it goes to the cost cap administration and then beyond that, there’s the International Court of Appeal.

“So they could drag it out for another six, nine months, which is not our intention.

“We want closure on 2021. I think that you know, we’ve had some healthy and productive discussions with with the FIA, and I’m hopeful of being able to reach a conclusion in the near future.

“We made an interim submission in 2021. There was no feedback or suggestion that we were doing anything that was contrary to any regulations.

“The submission was made in March. Again, we didn’t hear anything from that until September.”

He also added: “We categorically don’t feel that we’ve had any advantage, either in 2021 or 2022 or 23. Or 24, or somebody’s talking about 2026. It is totally fictitious.

“We cannot be in November or October waiting for the outcome for last year’s championship.

“The regulations were placed on the FIA to police and surprised them the scale of some of the teams and the complexity of if.

“We have been assured the process will be quicker for the next of this year but there are already significant challenges for 2022.”

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