Mercedes director of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has labelled Christian Horner's claim that Red Bull was handed a "draconian" budget cap breach penalty as an "exaggeration".
The FIA reached an 'accepted breach agreement' with the world championship winning team over the breach of F1's financial regulations last season, with Red Bull handed a $7million fine and a 10 per cent reduction in aerodynamic testing time.
Team principal Christian Horner was left unimpressed by the "draconian" penalty but in reply, Shovlin explained: "The scale of that penalty isn't much more than what you would lose if you were just one place higher up in the championship.
"So it is not as big as the penalty if you were positioned two places higher.
"Describing it as draconian is an exaggeration."
READ: Horner slates "hugely draconian" penalty and offers no apology for budget cap overspend
Shovlin outlines impacts of penalty
Horner claimed that Red Bull would be at risk of losing half a second per lap as a result of the wind tunnel restrictions.
However, Shovlin addressed the impacts of the penalty, adding: "Reducing the number of runs does limit your freedom when you are developing a concept but we are in reasonably well-explored regulations now.
"You definitely have to be more efficient. If it were half a second, which I heard mentioned, then a team at the back of the grid would have over a three-seconds advantage to one at the front and that simply isn't the case.
"But it depends on how well you make decisions during the year.
"I would have thought a tenth, maybe two-tenths at the upper-end, realistically is what that would cost you.
"In a week or so, it would be four or five runs different but where it would be costly is if you have chosen an incorrect concept and need to track back, it is removing that freedom to explore different avenues."