Newey’s role in Red Bull cost cap defence

Adrian Newey and Christian Horner

Christian Horner has shed light on the role design guru Adrian Newey played in Red Bull’s arguments against its Accepted Breach Agreement (ABA) Deal after exceeding the Formula 1 cost cap.

Over the Mexico City Grand Prix weekend, the FIA announced it had fined Red Bull $7 million and deducted 10 percent of its allowed aerodynamic testing for the coming 12 months.

That was handed down after it found the Milton Keynes squad to have overspent the 2021 Formula 1 cost cap by, effectively, $420,000.

It was a penalty described as “draconian” by Horner who also suggested it equated to 0.5s per lap in terms of on-track performance.

Rivals have disputed that figure and instead claim the impact is likely less than half of that.

The most important aspect of the penalty is the restriction on wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) allowance the team will have.

Lasting for 12 months from the time they reached the agreement, it will therefore impact both the 2023 and 2024 cars.

As it attempted to argue its case to the FIA, Horner revealed that he had Newey, the squad’s Chief Technical Officer, explain the full impact of the aerodynamic testing restriction.

“I asked Adrian to explain to the administration panel the impacts of any wind tunnel penalty,” Horner said.

“Adrian is better placed than any of us to describe the draconianess [sic] on that.

“You have to remember that we operate out of a wind tunnel that is actually a listed building, it’s a relic of the Cold War, it’s not a state-of-the-art wind tunnel that our competitors enjoy.

“It was built in the 1950s and it has its own limitations when it’s either too cold or too hot.

“So, therefore, a penalty like this is hugely draconian.

“Adrian, I wanted to make sure, had the ability to explain, to ensure that our side of the story, or our side of the penalty, in this discussion through the ABA process was presented accurately.”

Ultimately, Horner’s squad accepted the ABA offered to it, though continued to profess its innocence.

That Red Bull is displeased with the outcome, as are many of its rivals, suggests an appropriate compromise has probably been found.

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