Horner warns against making drivers ‘robots’

Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Horner warns against making drivers ‘robots’

Formula 1

Horner warns against making drivers ‘robots’


Formula 1 should be careful not to turn its drivers into “robots” by preventing them from showing emotion, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Max Verstappen was handed a penalty of two days of public service by the FIA for pushing Esteban Ocon after the Brazilian Grand Prix, with the pair having collided on track during the race. The incident with Ocon — who was a lap down — cost Verstappen a likely victory, and while Horner (pictured above, with Verstappen) says his driver shouldn’t have got physical he also wants to see emotions in F1.

“Drivers aren’t robots at the end of the day, nor should they be,” Horner said. “We see in other sports that there is interaction between players and it’s down to the referee obviously to step in and manage that.

“I don’t think it got out of hand. I don’t know what words were exchanged between the two of them and while violence in any way shape or form shouldn’t be condoned, emotions run high and occasionally boil over.

“There’s a lot of history between those two drivers which goes right back to karting and what we don’t know is what words were exchanged between them, how he was antagonized.

“You have to also understand emotions — you just have had a backmarker take a grand prix victory away from you, it’s inevitable that they’re running high.”

Although the FIA stewards handed out a punishment to Verstappen for his reaction in Brazil, race director Charlie Whiting is unconcerned by recent aggressiveness after Sebastian Vettel was also penalized for damaging FIA scales in Interlagos.

“Let’s be realistic, it’s happened a number of times in the past, we all know that,” Whiting said. “In terms of the actual incident (between Verstappen and Ocon), it didn’t look that serious, but any physical contact I don’t think can be condoned.

“(Vettel) just lost his cool a little bit, and paid the price for it … It’s just the way it goes. I don’t think they’re at all linked, I don’t think there’s an ‘outbreak of violence’ because of those incidents.”