'Appalled' Red Bull accuse rivals of a 'concerted campaign' over budget cap breach

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Red Bull is "appalled" by the "concerted campaign" from rival teams against them regarding their budget cap breach. 

On Saturday, team boss Christian Horner spoke publicly about the situation for the first time after the FIA ruled Red Bull had committed a "minor overspend" of the $145m cap in 2021.

In response, McLaren CEO Zak Brown to write to the governing body claiming any breach of the budget cap regulations "constitutes cheating".

And though he didn't mention Red Bull directly in his letter, that earned the American a strong rebuke from Horner as they sat together in the team principals' press conference on Saturday. 

“It is tremendously disappointing for a competitor to accuse you of cheating and fraudulent [behaviour],” he said.

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“It's absolutely shocking that another competitor, without the facts, without any knowledge of the details, can be making that kind of accusation.

“We’ve been on trial since Singapore [when the rumours of a breach started]. The rhetoric of cheats. The numbers in the media are miles away from reality.

“The damage this has done to our brand, our drivers, our workforce? In an age where mental health is prevalent, we see kids of our employees bullied in playgrounds. 

"You cannot make these allegations without fact or substance. We are appalled at the behaviour of some of our competitors.”

McLaren certainly hasn't been alone in calling for a severe punishment to be handed out, with Ferrari and Mercedes also being particularly vocal on the budget cap matter. 

“There is a concerted campaign for a draconian penalty for Red Bull [over] a couple of hundred thousand dollars,” Horner added. 

“We have been subjected to three weeks of abuse. It’s just not right. It has to stop.”

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On the breach itself, the Red Bull boss also made it clear any overspending had no direct impact on the team's on-track performance.

“Absolutely not. What are the relevant costs within the cap - this is where the interpretation comes from," Horner explained.

“Our view is that our relevant costs come within the cap and we are in talks with the FIA over mitigating circumstances.

“We had zero benefits from an operational perspective. Our submission was below the cap and we expect things to be challenged or clarified.

“Based on third-party accounting, the interpretation of the 52-page document was clear from our side.

“We absolutely do not feel that we had any advantage in 2021 or 2022. It is totally fictitious.”