Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has emphasized once again the crucial role that Formula 1's budget cap could play on this year's title fight, with the outcome of the latter possibly being decided by the courts.
Horner, whose team and driver Max Verstappen currently lead their respective championships, has been vocal since the start of the season of the effects on teams' constrained budgets of rampant inflation, higher energy and freight costs and global supply chain issues.
Red Bull, along with McLaren and Ferrari, believe that it will be near impossible for their outfits to reach Abu Dhabi at the end of the season without breaching F1's $140 million cost cap.
"The way you design your car is within your control," Horner told Sky F1 in Montreal.
"That is something that you, together with your group of designers, you create. You’re in control of your own destiny.
"What we’re seeing in the world at the moment, we’re not in control of the inflationary costs that are affecting households around the world. In the UK, we’re seeing predicted inflation at 11 per cent.
"That’s a direct effect on staff, on raw materials, on electricity, on commodities, on supplied parts. I think it genuinely is a force majeure situation that the FIA need to deal with."
Horner estimates that 50 per cent of F1's team will be forced to exceed the budget cap "if it continues the way things are".
And an overrun will lead to penalties imposed by the FIA which could impact the final outcome of the title fight.
"We don’t want a championship decided in law courts, or in Paris in front of the FIA," Horner warned. "We’ve got six months of the year to address this, we need to act now."
But the Red Bull chief also sees another risk sitting on the horizon if the governing body does not address the current situation.
"I think the top teams would have to get rid of circa two, three hundred people each, to get anywhere near addressing it," he added. "Is that right?
"The problem is if the cost cap fails badly, it’ll be gone forever. We need to find a solution to this issue.
"Nobody could have predicted this. We lowered the cost cap by $35m during the pandemic, and nobody could have predicted the issues that we’ve got."