Christian Horner and Mattia Binotto in heated exchange as tempers boil

Max Verstappen commits future to Red Bull signing £200m deal

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Christian Horner and Mattia Binotto were spotted in a heated exchange moments ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. Binotto was caught on camera talking in the Ferrari team principal’s ear on the grid before the start of the race.

Horner looked shocked before he appeared to retaliate back with his own message. The confrontation seemed to come just hours after Binotto was spotted walking into Mercedes hospitality ahead of Sunday’s race.

It comes after German newspaper Auto Motor und Sport suggested Red Bull had broken the cap by around £9million ($10mil). This would be above the FIA’s five per cent leniency for a minor violation meaning Red Bull could be hit with major penalties including the loss of championship points.

Ferrari have been one of the most critical teams in response to the rumours. Binotto held meetings with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff for over an hour on Friday over the issue.

Meanwhile, race director Laurent Mekies claimed the team would be looking for the maximum punishment if Red Bull were found guilty. Mekies said this was because any extra spend from Red Bull would have had a “huge” impact on their car performance.

He explained: “It’s now no secret that two teams broke the 2021 budget cap regulations, one by a significant amount, the other less so.

“We regard this as something very serious and we expect the FIA to manage the situation in exemplary fashion. We trust the FIA 100 per cent. They have taken a very strong position in recent weeks and months on other issues. Therefore we expect that, for such a serious matter, there will be complete transparency and maximum penalties to ensure we are all racing within the same rules, because their impact on car performance is huge.”

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Red Bull have suggested the reports were just “speculation” while team boss Horner has also defended the team. The 48-year-old boss said the remarks from rival team bosses were “bang out of order” and used to “detract from a lack of performance on track”.

However, Horner has also questioned where the claims around their private financial information came from. He added: “How on earth do they have this information? Where do they have this knowledge? The FIA have even stated they haven’t even completed their process.

“So unless there is a clear withdrawal of those statements, we will be taking it incredibly seriously and looking at what the options available to us are. It’s absolutely unacceptable to be making comments of the type that were made yesterday that are totally defamatory to the team, to the brands and even to Formula One.”

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