Christian Horner in Lewis Hamilton snub amid Mercedes tension over budget cap

Christian Horner has snubbed Lewis Hamilton amid his anger at Mercedes’ involvement in the budget cap fiasco. The Silver Arrows have shot back at Horner over the team’s budget overspend last season with the Red Bull chief angry at their involvement. Speaking to Bloomberg, Horner, claimed he would prefer to have a beer with Max Verstappen than the seven-time champion.

The Bloomberg journalist asked: “Who would you prefer to have a beer with? Hamilton or Verstappen? Horner responded: “Verstappen. I don’t think Lewis drinks beer.”
His comments come after Red Bull and Mercedes were embroiled in a bitter title fight last season. However, the two teams have also clashed on multiple occasions in 2022.

Horner opposed Wolff’s push for rule changes to deal with porpoising concerns with the pair clashing in Canada. Mercedes have also been critical of Red Bull since they were found guilty of breaking F1’s budget cap rules the day after the Japanese Grand Prix.

The team were found to have made a minor breach meaning it was under five per cent of the total cap. Red Bull are expected to be issued a severe penalty but exact details are yet to be announced.
Team principal Toto Wolff attacked Horner ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, stressing Red Bull had been investigated by the FIA for months. This led Horner to hit back at his rival, claiming the team could take legal action against the German manufacturer if their “defamatory” remarks were not withdrawn.

Wolff dismissed Horner’s legal threat as “just noise” coming from the Red Bull team boss.Mercedes then ramped up the pressure, stressing that any minor breach of the cost cap would still have an effect on car performance.
Wolff explained: “If you’re spending $5m more, and you’re still in the minor breach, it still has a big impact on the championship. To give you an idea, we obviously monitor closely which parts are being brought to the track from the top teams every single race – for the 2021 season and the 2022 season.

He added: “We haven’t produced lightweight parts for the car in order to bring us down from a double-digit overweight because we simply haven’t got the money. So we need to do it for next year’s car. We can’t homologate a lightweight chassis and bring it in, because it’s just $2m (£1.8mil) that we will be over the cap. So you can see every spend more has a performance advantage.”

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