Mercedes says Red Bull is exaggerating the impact of their penalty

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said Red Bull was handed a “draconian” penalty for their cost cap breach, but Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin says “describing it as draconian is an exaggeration”.

Yesterday, the FIA has revealed Red Bull’s punishment for breaching the 2021 cost cap. The team has received a $7m fine, and its wind tunnel and CFD testing time will be reduced by 10%.

In a press conference held by Red Bull after the FIA’s announcement, Christian Horner said the penalty was “draconian”, and tried to explain how it will severely impact Red Bull’s performance.

At the Mexican Grand Prix  Saturday press conference, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin said Horner is exaggerating.

“The scale of that penalty isn’t much more than what you would lose if you were just one place higher up in the championship,” Shovlin said.

“So it is not as big as the penalty if you were positioned two places higher. Describing it as draconian is an exaggeration.”

Horner also said Red Bull could lose half a second a lap due to their aero testing limitation, but Shovlin says it’s also greatly exaggerated.

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“Reducing the number of runs does limit your freedom when you are developing a concept but we are in reasonably well-explored regulations now.

“You definitely have to be more efficient. If it were half a second, which I heard mentioned, then a team at the back of the grid would have over a three-seconds advantage to one at the front and that simply isn’t the case.

“But it depends on how well you make decisions during the year. I would have thought a tenth, maybe two-tenths at the upper-end, realistically is what that would cost you.

“In a week or so, it would be four or five runs different but where it would be costly is if you have chosen an incorrect concept and need to track back.

“It is removing that freedom to explore different avenues,” Shovlin concluded.

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