Red Bull team principal Christian Horner accepts the stewards are taking their time making decisions due to the “huge scrutiny” that goes into them towards the end of the title fight.
A call on whether to grant Mercedes a right to review the incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Brazil took nearly 24 hours to be delivered, while there was another overnight wait for investigations into yellow flag indiscretions after qualifying. With those examples following a long delay in excluding Hamilton from qualifying in Brazil, Horner says decisions are taking much longer than normal but he appreciates why the stewards are being cautious.
“It is an unusual amount of time but I think, particularly with what’s at stake, there’s huge scrutiny going into each of these decisions,” Horner said. “So I think they are very conscious that they want to make the right decision that doesn’t leave themselves open to scrutiny. So therefore they are taking the time to come to these decisions.”
Horner himself was summoned to the stewards after the Qatar Grand Prix for comments made in a pre-race interview where he blamed “a rogue marshal” for waving yellow flags late in qualifying. While Horner apologized to the marshal concerned, he says the frustration remains that such a situation had occurred.
“Obviously after the decision was made, I made a comment to one of the broadcasters (Sky Sports), I felt there had been a rogue marshal who had waved the yellow flag and the stewards took offense to that side. I just reassured them that no offense was intended with the individual, it was more frustration with the circumstance having three or four cars pass the same car with no yellow flags, double-waved yellow flag. It was an explanation of that.
“I think the apology was accepted. And I’d just like to make it clear, it wasn’t pointed at marshals — I think marshals do a wonderful job around the world, they’re volunteers. Without marshals there would be no motorsports, so it’s just the circumstances that were frustrating.
“I think there’s always room for improvement, isn’t there? I think we’ve seen other teams voicing their displeasure at the FIA as recently as Brazil. So yeah, there’s always going to be frustration obviously when there’s tight competition and marginal calls can have massive impacts, like we saw with the grid penalty.”