Red Bull blasts Mercedes and Ferrari for “hugely defamatory” claims

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Christian Horner says Mercedes and Ferrari’s claims about Red Bull’s rumoured 2021 budget cap breach were made on purpose to detract from Max Verstappen’s possible title win.

Yaesterday, Auto Motor und Sport and Gazzetta Dello Sport reported that there is talk in the paddock that Red Bull has breached the 2021 budget cap.

The story has since been widely reported across the F1 media, with reports saying that the breach can be classified as ‘material’, which is a harsher offense.

Since then a lot of team principals and personnel have been asked about this, with Mercedes and Ferrari very vocally saying that they expect the FIA to take any breaches very seriously.

Today, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner blasted those teams for what he perceives to be “hugely defamatory” statements.

“We were a little bit taken aback by comments that were coming in from two of our rival teams yesterday,” Horner said.

“The submission between the team and the FIA is one that is confidential. I have no idea what the outcome of our rival submissions are, or the accounting treatment or so on.

“I would be intrigued to know where their source of information for these fictitious claims has come from.

“They’re hugely defamatory. We take umbrage to them, and one can only assume it’s not a coincidence.

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“It’s not uncoincidental that this is at a point where Max has his first strike [at] the World Championship.

“How on earth do they have this information? Where do they have this knowledge? The FIA have even stated they haven’t even completed their process.

“So unless there is a clear withdrawal of those statements, we will be taking incredibly seriously and looking at what the options available to us are.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to be making comments of the type that were made yesterday, that is totally defamatory to the team, to the brands, and even to Formula 1.”

Asked if Red Bull had even been specifically named by these team representatives, Horner said:

“They were very clear in naming Red Bull. I know you have impartiality for some teams, but it should remain absolutely neutral.

“The facts are such that the submission is made to the FIA, and it is a private submission between the team and the FIA.

“So how on earth can any team know the detail of our submission? How on earth can any team know that a team is in breach or not?

“We don’t even know. If we’re in breach, we don’t even know until next week, until the process has been completed.

“So perhaps, when these accusations are made, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And we take umbrage, and extremely seriously the remarks that have been made.”

Horner went on to say these claims are being made now to take away from Max Verstappen’s success, as in Singapore he has his first shot at winning the 2022 title.

“Is it any coincidence that Max has his first shot at winning a world title? And here we are talking nothing but cost caps rather than the phenomenal performance that he has had this year.

“I think it’s an underhand tactic that has been employed to detract from perhaps a lack of a lack of performance on track this year.

“So and of course, when references are made to last year, this year, next year, we’re going to take that extremely seriously.

“This is an issue for the FIA to deal with but also an issue for Red Bull to consider what our position is with those comments that have been made,” the Briton concluded.

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