Grand prix

Red Bull ‘targeted’ with ‘sharp knives’ in F1 2022

A hugely successful campaign in which Red Bull sealed both F1 world titles for the first time since 2013 was partly overshadowed by off-track controversy surrounding the F1 cost cap

Red Bull were found guilty of breaking the $145m spending limit set during Max Verstappen’s maiden title-winning campaign in 2021 and were subsequently hit with a $7m fine and a 10 percent reduction in wind tunnel time. 

And Horner claims Red Bull were targeted by their rivals, admitting the off-track politicking had been “tough” at times in 2022. 

“Off-track we’ve had firmly a target on our backs this year,” Horner said. 

“We’re a race team. What we do, we’re not a political organisation, we focus on going racing. 

“We’re hard racers, we’ve pushed the boundaries, which is what race teams do if they want to succeed. That’s always been our approach and it’s worked well for us. 

“We enjoy competing and at times it has been tough this year. But, unfortunately, that’s Formula 1.” 

Prior to the F1 cost cap saga, the nature of Verstappen’s first title triumph had already proved a divisive subject for F1 fans following the controversial conclusion at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.  

Asked if Red Bull need to rebuild trust with fans following the events of the last two years, Horner replied: “I think you are always learning. Someone else will have another issue at some point and the higher you rise, the sharper the knives. 

“We’ve experienced that a bit this year. The quickest way to become unpopular in this paddock is to win and win consistency. 

“We’re a subsidiary of an energy drink racing against OEMs and historic brands and of course, that does not sit comfortably with some of our competitors. 

“When you win 17 grands prix and do what we’ve done, you can understand that hurts our opponents and I’m sure they’ll be even more motivated to become a challenger next year. 

“They are both such high quality teams, that nothing can be taken for granted in 2023.”

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