Christian Horner has dismissed suggestions his Red Bull team have become the 'bad boys' of Formula One.
The Milton Keynes-based marque twice found themselves in front of the Hockenheim stewards either side of Sunday's German Grand Prix. Beforehand the team were called to face questions relating to a technical matter, narrowly avoiding punishment as although the stewards did not accept all the arguments, they had not broken the rules as they are written.
Post-race, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel was handed a retrospective drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits in overtaking Jenson Button on the penultimate lap. The addition of 20 seconds to his race time resulted in Vettel dropping from second to fifth, losing eight points in the process.
Defending his team from a bad-boy accusation, Horner said: "Unfortunately when you have a quick car it's inevitable questions are asked, and Formula One is a competitive business at the end of the day.
"Initially we were called to the stewards to have a discussion about some technicalities on the car. But the rules are pretty black and white, and having listened and looked at the data the stewards were fully satisfied.
"That's the nature of Formula One, and you are always going to get other teams who are going to speculate.
"As for Sebastian, the stewards ruled he gained an unfair advantage, and the only penalty available to them is the equivalent of a drive-through, which is 20 seconds.
"The penalty doesn't fit the crime, even if in our opinion there was no crime, so to have a 20-second penalty was a bit harsh. It was very disappointing, but we have to take it on the chin."
That particular incident leaves Vettel 44 points adrift of leader Fernando Alonso in the season standings after the Spaniard's victory at Hockenheim, with Mark Webber 34 points behind.