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Horner threatens to protest

NEWS STORY
20/11/2021

Insisting that Mercedes recent straight-line speed is "not normal", Red Bull boss, Christian Horner admits that he will not hesitate in protesting the car.

Media and fans alike were left disappointed on Thursday when the FIA announced that a decision on Mercedes request for a right of review would be delayed until Friday.

Come the day we waited for news... but nothing.

And then, bang in the middle of one of the most intense (F1) press conferences since Canada 2003, Toto Wolff and Christian Horner were advised that the request had been denied.

To add to it all the press conference was being televised by Sky Sports, the first time a team principals press conference has been broadcast live by the broadcaster for several years.

This was TV drama at its finest, indeed all that was missing was for the announcement of the FIA's decision to have been made by a celebrity… their bodyguard... or Oprah.

Rapidly, F1 is becoming a cross between a soap opera and WWF - and we don't mean the wildlife charity.

Among the various barbs tossed around over the course of the 'show', Christian Horner repeated his claim that something is not quite right about the Mercedes, in particular its recent increase in pace, described by the Briton in Brazil as "mind-boggling".

Asked if he would consider protesting the car, Horner was in no doubt.

"Would I protest?" he replied, almost incredulous. "Yeah, absolutely.

"If we believe the car is not in compliance, we will protest," he continued.

"The straight-line speeds that we've seen in Mexico and in Brazil... I mean, I think everybody could see Brazil was not a normal situation," he said. "And yes, a new engine we know with Mercedes comes with increased performance.

"But when you have a 27 km/h difference, and you see marks on rear end plates that have been marking up from wings that have been flexing..." he paused

"It's very clear to us what has been going on," he added. "So, of course, that's why I refer it's down to the FIA to make sure that the cars are in compliance. If they're not, you protest if you believe that a competitor isn't complying with the rules.

"We'll follow the situation," he warned, "and it will depend really on what happens this weekend, what we see, and the analysis that we've conducted.

"So it really depends on what we see, and it's not just applied to here because I think it's in many respects even more pertinent to the two circuits that are coming up.

"But as a competitor, as I'm sure Mercedes, and we know, have paid a huge amount of attention to our car throughout the season and we're obviously doing the same.

"Obviously it's high stakes, there's an awful lot to play for and we just want to make sure it's an equal playing field. What we absolutely want going into these last few races is a fair fight.

"Whoever comes out at the end of this on top, it shouldn't be in a stewards room, it shouldn't be in a court of appeal, it needs to be done on track," he insisted.

"We just want to ensure that going into these last few races, that these cars are being scrupulously policed and are in full compliance, because there's too much at stake."

And... cut!

Check out our Saturday gallery from Qatar, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 22/11/2021 10:52

"It's strange that Mercedes' speed is "unbelievable" when I understand that top speeds of both Mercedes cars & both RBRs when using DRS, were within a few kph of one another during various FP sessions. Inferentially, based on Horner's accusations, I guess they must also be doing something "dodgy".

I somewhat surprisingly find myself agreeing with @kenji - all this aerodynamic tom-foolery with DRS needs to be scrapped. I'm not convinced that "Push to Pass" is the way to go - let's wait & see if the revised Ground Effect aero of next year's cars allows a bit more "natural" overtaking."

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2. Posted by kenji, 21/11/2021 0:57

"What I certainly hope for in the near future is that F1 can dispense forever with this artificial abomination...DRS. The added expense and complexity will not be needed if the ground effect cars can perform as we have been led to believe! If there needs to be any continued 'artificiality' then they should consider reverting to a system similar to IndyCar...a push to pass system that allows for approx 3 mins duration over race distance with a boost of approx 60HP. Once used up then there is no more available. It's not a perfect system as it is sometimes used to fend off overtakes which rather negates the original intent. The benefits though are IMO substantial insofar as it reduces the ability of teams to 'bend' the rules as we are currently experiencing this season. Whilst I am not supportive of either team or their principals I do believe that from a purely technical POV Horner is right in questioning where this substantial straight line speed is coming from? It doesn't appear 'prima facie' to have translated to all other customer teams either?. "

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3. Posted by Redphyve, 20/11/2021 16:50

"And here we go again.

Whinger Spice moaning and crying again that Toto has better toys than he has...boo-hoo!

Cry me a river puh-leeze! When the Red Bull flexi-floor and wing was questioned, he wanted no more fuss because the offending items had passed the FIA requirements at the time. Couldn't see why teams were protesting, waste of time. beat us on the track....but now the shoe is on the other foot?

Sorry but you and Mad Marko...you're deserving of no sympathy..
."

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4. Posted by Cobra Driver, 20/11/2021 13:46

"So we have Whingin' Christian and Moanin' Max. What a combo! Can't we just race?"

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5. Posted by Roli, 20/11/2021 9:48

"Horner should be reminded of the old saying : "Dont throw stones when you live in a glass house". What chance of Mercedes raising a protest on the Red Bull ? Pathetic way to behave, if a competor's car is quicker, fix yours!"

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6. Posted by Mad Matt, 20/11/2021 9:13

"To me, some of it can be explained by down force differences.Max was much quicker in the middle sector. I suspect that Merc have found a way to drive the MGU-H better but that limits the life of the engine... on the other hand the differences weren't quite as Christian says: https://www.fia.com/events/fia-formula-one-world-championship/season-2021/brazilian-grand-prix/qualifying-classification (click on "speed trap".)"

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7. Posted by F1nerd, 20/11/2021 8:59

"Yes, remember Ferrari a couple of years back when they were a lot more competitive in the second half of the season and complaints flowed from the teams. Ferrari then suffered for the remainder of the and the following year. So, why should Mercedes get away with something that is so obviously not quite right? The power difference was very obvious in Brazil especially."

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