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McLaren CEO Questions Red Bull-RBF1 Close Ties

McLaren CEO Questions Red Bull-RBF1 Close Ties

23/02/2024

Zak Brown voices concerns over the VCARB 01’s similarity to Red Bull, stirring debate on fair competition in F1’s budget-capped era.

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, continues to express strong concerns about what he perceives as overly close ties between Red Bull and RBF1.

The American executive is notably displeased with the VCARB 01’s resemblance to the Red Bull, raising questions and concerns about the extent of synergies between the two teams.

In an era of capped budgets, does this not constitute unfair competition?

Naturally, Christian Horner, the head of Red Bull Racing, disagrees.

The Milton Keynes boss has put the narrative of the “small Scuderia” into context, serving as a reminder to McLaren and Zak Brown.

“It’s important to revisit history and understand why the ownership of the two F1 teams is as it is today.”

“Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley approached Dietrich Mateschitz in 2005 to acquire what was then the struggling Minardi Formula 1 team, on the verge of bankruptcy.”

“Dietrich stepped in, bought the team, revitalized it, and then made significant investments in the Faenza facilities, Italy.”

“We then faced the 2008 financial crisis, as other manufacturers took the opportunity to leave the sport. I believe four of them left at that time, but Red Bull remained committed and continued to support both teams during this tough period.”

“The regulations evolved, and Faenza had to become its own manufacturer, which led to investments in infrastructure.”

“We then had COVID, where Red Bull again played a part and supported both teams. In fact, Red Bull helped to reboot F1 post-COVID, with two races introduced after the pandemic.”

“Red Bull’s commitment to F1 and these two teams is thus remarkable and should be applauded and thanked – rather than ridiculed and compromised.”

Horner instead criticizes the ties between Ferrari and Haas

For Christian Horner, Zak Brown’s criticisms are unfounded, questioning the actual link between Red Bull and RBF1, even after their recent geographical closeness?

“The two teams are completely separate. One is based in Italy and the other in the UK. The one based in Italy sees a much higher turnover of staff – a lot of staff ends up at Maranello [with Ferrari] rather than Milton Keynes.”

“These two teams have different personalities and characteristics and continuously comply with the regulations.”

After targeting Ferrari, Christian Horner then criticizes Haas for its too-close relationship with the Scuderia… The best defense is a good offense!

“The relationship [between Red Bull and RBF1] is much less close than that of some teams that maintain very close relationships with their engine manufacturers.”

“In place of Laurent [Mekies], I would take it as a compliment that the question is being raised now – because of the change in leadership.”

“The team has had the opportunity to regroup, it has two quality drivers, it’s bringing in quality people, and we expect it to be a competitor, not only to the rest of the field but also to Red Bull Racing.”

“We are racers, there are no pre-set rules, no agreements between teams, and I think you can point to many notable facts or scenarios where this (a conclusion of agreement between teams) has occurred over the years, with even Toro Rosso cars parked in our garage during a decisive race for the championship.”

“So, I don’t understand the fuss about this issue, I don’t understand the noise that’s been made, and I think Red Bull should be applauded for the support, commitment, and jobs they’ve provided in both good times and especially bad.”

“For me, therefore, it’s not an issue.”

McLaren CEO Questions Red Bull-RBF1 Close Ties. McLaren CEO Questions Red Bull-RBF1 Close Ties

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