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Horner left seething with Mercedes as fallout continues

By Tom Gibson | July 22, 2021

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Is he hypocritical or does he have a point?

Horner left seething with Mercedes as fallout continues

As the fallout from a quite thrilling British GP continues, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has said it’s "unacceptable" that Formula 1 stewards can be lobbied by competitors while they are making decisions.

As access to Formula 1 continues to evolve, fans were treated to a behind the scenes look at how teams interact with key FIA personnel, including race director Michael Masi.

In scenes more akin to protests to referees in football matches, Mercedes head honcho, Toto Wolff, Horner himself and Red Bull’s sporting director, Jonathan Wheatley, were all heard giving their side of the story to Masi.

At each instance, Masi, understandably, said the stewards were looking at it and there’s nothing further to add. Given Masi has no impact on the decision it seemed a slight waste of time for each of the parties to be lobbying in this way.

But what seems to have really bugged Horner is that Wolff then headed off to the stewards to make sure they had seen the FIA’s guidance on overtaking, which apparently painted the picture that Hamilton had every right to be where he was on the track. 

After Wolff was advised over team radio by F1 race director Michael Masi to go and speak to the stewards, Horner marched down there himself to make sure that his team’s views were not ignored.

“I saw Toto, who was lobbying the stewards, and I heard he was going there to do it, so I went to make sure that our view was represented,” explained Horner about why he was spotted at the stewards.

“I don't think it's right that a team principal should be able to go and lobby the stewards. They should be locked away so that they're not influenced.

“For me, it was unacceptable that he had gone up there to lobby the stewards. I wanted to make sure that there was a balanced opinion given, rather than trying to influence pressure on the stewards to make a menial sentence.”

“I don't think the stewards should be interfered with,” he said. “They need to be clear headed to be able to make those decisions.

“I went to see the stewards because I'd heard that Toto was up there, presenting a case. You want it to be fair and balanced, and I don't think anybody should be allowed to see the stewards.”

But despite Horner’s views on the matter, F1 race director Michael Masi said he has no problem with the stewards having an open door policy with teams.

"If we have an incident after the race, we invite the teams and the drivers to come up and appear before the stewards,” he said.

“We had the case in Monza last year when Lewis went and spoke to the stewards to understand what happened and have a look at the whole picture. During the suspension, that ability exists, so there's no reason not to."

 

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