Horner denies claims Red Bull partnership with Visa CashAPP RB will give them an edge

Horner denies claims Red Bull partnership with Visa CashAPP RB will give them an edge

Christian Horner has denied claims made by McLaren CEO Zak Brown that Red Bull Racing’s partnership with Visa CashApp RB will give them a competitive advantage

Red Bull Racing team principal and CEO Christian Horner has dismissed claims that fielding two teams gives them a competitive advantage. In recent weeks, McLaren CEO Zak Brown emerged as the most outspoken critic of the closer collaboration, requesting the FIA to step in.

The past few months have seen a rise in concerns regarding Red Bull’s close relationship with its sister team which was recently rebranded to Visa CashApp RB after the Milton Keynes outfit confirmed the 2024 collaboration over the winter break.

The front and rear suspension, clutches, gearbox, and rear impact structure are among the parts that the team will share with RB. This arrangement hinges on last year’s RB19 which is one of the most dominant cars in F1 history.

The main problem, according to Brown, is the close ties between the two Red Bull-owned F1 teams, and feels that the reigning champions will give their sister team undue advantages.

He has specifically questioned whether the exchange of components from the championship-winning RB19 car to the new RB1 violates the purpose of the cost cap regulations, although it is technically permissible.

Both Horner and Visa CashApp RB CEO Peter Bayer have defended the partnership, maintaining the arrangement conforms with the rules of the sport.

Horner, however, goes one step further and suggests that Brown should applaud Red Bull’s ingenuity rather than condemn their strategy.

“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.

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“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 is worried that Visa CashApp RB is taking unfair advantage of its close ties to Red Bull Racing, and Horner is hoping for even closer 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 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.”

Horner additionally believed that the fact that RB is under scrutiny because it moved up the grid towards the end of last season was likely an indication that the team was making the right decisions.

“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,” he added.

“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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