Ex-F1 engineer has ‘zero sympathy’ for Horner’s cost cap “whinging”

Pat Symonds says he has “zero sympathy” for teams “whinging” about the F1 cost cap, in an apparent dig towards Red Bull boss Christian Horner. 
Christian Horner (GBR)
Christian Horner (GBR)

After being found guilty of breaching the $145m spending limit during Max Verstappen’s maiden title-winning campaign in 2021, Red Bull were hit with a $7m fine and 10 percent reduction in their wind tunnel time for the next 12 months. 

Red Bull team principal Horner described the penalty as “draconian” but said his side had “begrudgingly” accepted the FIA’s decision in the best interest of the sport. 

Remote video URL

Horner has called for changes to be made to the cost cap in an attempt to raise the spending limit and has regularly highlighted concerns about accident damage impacting team’s development capabilities.

But F1 chief technical officer Symonds says he has little sympathy for such complaints. 

“I spent 42 years as an inventor in Formula 1, I always had a cost cap – we called it a budget,” he said. “And that was the amount we are allowed to spend.

“When I hear certain people whinging on about the fact ‘oh, we’ve had an accident, so you know, we need more money’. Yeah, I’ve had accidents as well. 

“And I remember one year we had a very, very good development programme going, and we had one of those periods in Monza onwards, I can’t remember what year it was [but] it was in the 90s, and we just had accident after accident after accident.

“The budget didn’t change, so we had to stop the development programme we were working on – so I have slightly less than zero sympathy.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB18. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit,
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB18. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Speaking towards the end of last year, Horner expressed confidence that Red Bull would stay under the 2022 F1 cost cap. 

“If I look at the 2022 rate of development, I think that other teams have put significantly more components on the car than us this year,” he explained. 

“If you look at crash damage alone, which again, is hugely expensive, and something I think that needs personally looking at within the cap - when you look at the quantum of some of the crashes this year, some of which are not the fault of your driver or your team, Max Verstappen is the driver that has incurred the least amount of damage this year. In terms of parts used, again, we are at the lower end.

“So one can never say with 100% confidence that we're comfortably within the cap, particularly after the process that we've just been through.

“But we feel that there are a lot of one-off costs that have been included within this. And we are confident and hopeful that with the process of these regulations being tidied up for the future, it will become less of an accounting world championship.”

Read More