Red Bull says Mercedes sidepods seem legal, but Horner has inflation concerns for F1

Red Bull F1 inflation
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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Shifting the conversation to inflation impact on F1, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner sees nothing illegal in the new-look Mercedes car and is far more concerned how Formula One’s budget cap will impact teams given the “circumstances we have in the world.”

The cap was reduced from $145 million (132 million euros) to $140 million (127 million euros) this year and drops to $135 million (123 million euros) next year. The decision made in 2020 was to improve competition, giving richer teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull less of an advantage.

But with the ongoing war in Ukraine, rising inflation, energy prices and interest rates going up, Horner is worried the budget cap is now unrealistic.

“I think it’s a very real problem because we’re already seeing extremely high inflation. What you have to remember is when the budget cap was set back in the midst of the pandemic – in the middle of 2020 – nobody could have foreseen the circumstances we have in the world today,” Horner said Friday at a news conference during preseason testing in Bahrain (where Kevin Magnussen made his return with Haas F1).

“What we see going on in the world is only going to drive prices one way. Inflation looks like it could hit record amounts. We’re seeing that impact already, on things like air freight just to this event.”

Horner urged F1 to respond quickly.

“I think it’s a very serious problem that we have to look at and address because this has an impact on people’s jobs and livelihoods,” he said. “I think it’s the duty of the regulator to look at this with a degree of urgency to make sure the relief is put in place.”

Horner was also asked about the new upgrade to the Mercedes W13.

The sleeker car has attracted much attention in the paddock because it has much narrower sidepods compared to testing in Barcelona two weeks ago. The triangular slit for the radiator inlets could improve airflow by providing a higher cooling speed, and thus improving downforce.

“What’s so good about this sport is you get a clean sheet of paper, you get 10 different interpretations (from teams),” Horner said. “Obviously Mercedes have come up with an extreme one that’s a different interpretation. To answer your question whether we think it’s legal or not: yes, absolutely. It looks like it ticks all the boxes.”

Horner flatly denied telling a German publication earlier this week that he thought the upgrade was illegal.

“Comments have been quoted that certainly weren’t made,” he said. “As far as we’re concerned the Mercedes car looks like it complies with the regulations. It’s just a different interpretation, a different solution.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said Thursday there were no issues, and that the design had been cleared by governing body FIA. But F1’s managing director Ross Brawn and Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto expressed surprise at the new development.

Horner, whose star driver Max Verstappen won the world title last year, offered more thoughts on the W13.

“It’s very innovative what Mercedes have come up with. It’s quite a different concept to what we’ve pursued and some of the others have,” he said. “It shows the creativity that exists even within constrictive regulations in Formula One, that very different solutions are coming out. Now whether it’s the right one or whatever, only time will tell.”

For anything to be changed to cars during the season, eight of the 10 teams must agree as well as F1 and the FIA.

Verstappen begins his title defense on March 20 in Bahrain.

Saturday’s Supercross Round 5 in Houston: How to watch, start times, streaming info

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The championship race has tightened up as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, for Round 5 of the 2023 season.

With his 450 victory in the Anaheim Triple Crown, Chase Sexton has moved within four points of two-time and defending series champion Eli Tomac.

Jason Anderson is coming off a second place in Anaheim after crashing out of the first two rounds while racing in the top five. Ken Roczen earned his first podium last week since the 2022 season opener and the first for Suzuki since Chad Reed at Detroit in 2019.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 5 of the 2023 Supercross schedule at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023:


(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 5 will begin Saturday at 8 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock and will re-air Monday, Feb. 6 at 1 a.m. on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 2:30 p.m. ET.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race.

ENTRY LISTS: 450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET):

Here are the start times for Saturday, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

2:05-2:15 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 1
2:20-2:30 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
2:35-2:45 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
2:50-3 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
3:05-3:15 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
3:20-3:30 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 1
4:20-4:30 p.m.: 250SX Group C Qualifying 2
4:35-4:45 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
4:50-5 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:05-5:15 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
5:20-5:30 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
5:35-5:45 p.m.: 450SX Group C Qualifying 2
8:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
8:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
8:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
8:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
9:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:33 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
9:53 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
10:27 p.m.: 450SX Main Event

TRACK LAYOUT:

Click here to view the track map

HOW TO WATCH SUPERMOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON IN 2023Full NBC Sports, Peacock schedule

FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


2023 SEASON RECAPS

ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Oakland postponed by storms

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown


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