Horner mounts staunch defense of Red Bull dual ownership in F1


Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has mounted a staunch defense against McLaren boss Zak Brown’s criticism of VISA Cash App RB’s alliance with the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

For Brown, who believes that Red Bull gives its sister outfit unfair wings, the crux of the issue lies in the close ties between the two Red Bull-owned F1 teams.

Specifically, he has repeatedly pointed to the transfer of components from the championship-winning RB19 car to the new RB1, questioning whether this violates the spirit of the cost cap regulations, even if technically legal.

Both Horner and VCARB CEO Peter Bayer have defended the collaboration, insisting the alliance complies with the sport’s regulations.

But Horner goes further, suggesting Brown should commend Red Bull's ingenuity, rather than criticize their approach.

"One has to take a look back at the history of where this started and why that ownership is as it is now," Horner told the media in Bahrain on Thursday.

"Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley approached Dietrich Mateschitz back in 2005 to acquire what was then the Minardi Formula 1 team which was perennially struggling and on the brink of bankruptcy.

"Dietrich stepped in, acquired the team, shored it up, and then invested significantly in their Faenza facilities in Italy.

"We then faced the financial crisis in 2008, as other manufacturers chose that opportunity to leave the sport. I think four of them left at that point, [but] Red Bull remained resolute and continued to support both teams through that difficult period.

"The regulations then evolved and Faenza had to become its own manufacturer, so investment was made in the infrastructure.

"We then had Covid, where Red Bull again stepped up and stuck by both teams. In fact, Red Bull was responsible for getting F1 going again after Covid with two races that were introduced after the pandemic.

"So the commitment that Red Bull has made to F1 and these two teams is outstanding and should be applauded and be grateful for rather than derided and trying to compromise."

Brown's concerns about VCARB gaining an unfair advantage through its close links to Red Bull Racing are layered with Horner’s own desire for even tighter collaboration.

"The two teams are totally separate", Horner explained.

“One is based in Italy and one is based in the UK. The one that is based in Italy has a far larger turnover of staff that end up at Maranello [at Ferrari] than end up in Milton Keynes.

"They have different personalities, they have different characters and they comply continually with the regulations.

"Indeed, the relationship is far less tight than some of the teams that enjoy very tight relationships with their engine manufacturers.

"I would take it as a compliment if I was Laurent [Mekies, VCARB team principal] if the issue was being raised now because of the change of stewardship.

"The team had the opportunity to get its act together, they have two quality drivers, they're introducing quality people into the team and we expect them to be a competitor, not just to the rest of the field, but indeed Red Bull Racing.

"We are racers, there are no preset rules, there are no agreements between the teams and I think you can pick out many highlights or scenarios where that has been the case over the years, with even Toro Rosso cars parking in our pit garage during a championship-deciding race.

"So I don't understand the fuss about it, I don't understand the noise that has been created, and I think Red Bull should actually be applauded for the support, the commitment and the jobs they have provided through the good times and particularly the bad times.

"So for me, it really is a non-issue."

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