Christian Horner has reiterated that Red Bull Racing did not
transgress the spending limits laid down by the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) last year as some have claimed, dismissing the speculation as 'wildly out' and similarly playing down suggestions that F1 has another season of political squabbling in-store.
Prior to Christmas, former FIA President Max Mosley hinted that in 'asking for amnesty for non-compliance of the cost-reduction plan', the reigning double F1 World Champions might have flouted the RRA, a Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) initiative that came into being in 2009 following the failure of the Englishman's controversial budget cap and as an alternative means of keeping escalating expenditure in-check by stipulating increasingly stringent limits on staffing levels, aerodynamic development and external spending.
Whilst FOTA has since vowed to closely examine all competitors' budgets for 2010 [see separate story – click here
], RBR team principal Horner is adamant that with regard to the Milton Keynes-based squad's account, at least, nothing amiss will be found.
“It's similar to the front wing or active ride-height situation,” the 37-year-old told Crash.net
, recalling to mind the constant accusations of 'cheating' levelled at the energy drinks-backed outfit by indignant rivals throughout F1 2010. “Based on the fact that no numbers have been submitted to anyone yet, it's difficult to understand how some people seem to know what we've spent or how we've spent it.
“At the end of the day, our guys take it as a veiled compliment. It was a tremendous season for Red Bull Racing last year and I know what we spent, and the rumours are wildly out compared to the actual numbers that will be disclosed to FOTA this month.”
With off-track political machinations already threatening to derail the attention from the on-track thrills n' spills in 2011 – and discussions about a new Concorde Agreement looming – Horner was quick to refute the notion that fans are set for another summer of discontent in the sport à la
2009, and also quick to defend what will be the longest schedule in F1 history this season at 20 grands prix.
“I don't think so,” he assured, when asked if there is a risk that the polemical infighting might overshadow the competitive action again. “There's obviously the need for another Concorde Agreement, but that's still a couple of years away. I think the majority of people's focus will be on the racing, which is the most important thing. Hopefully, it will be a year in which the focus is on the racing and not on the off-track activities.
“Twenty races is about the right length, I think. If you look back, not so many years ago technicians and engineers would go straight from races to tests, with testing pretty much every week during the summer. Now, there's a lot less travel than there used to be, which I think justifies a couple of extra races compared to, say, 2005. I think it's the right thing to do. India is going to be a great spectacle, and I think all the grands prix on the calendar deserve their place on it – that's what makes it a world championship.”