Frustrated Horner says F1 missed Whiting in Jeddah

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Frustrated Horner says F1 missed Whiting in Jeddah

Formula 1

Frustrated Horner says F1 missed Whiting in Jeddah


Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Formula 1 missed former race director Charlie Whiting in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Whiting died on the eve of the 2019 F1 season and was succeeded as race director by Michael Masi, who now allows certain radio messages between himself and the teams to be broadcast on the world feed. After a race that saw multiple red flags, Virtual Safety Car interruptions and penalties handed out to Max Verstappen, Horner says Whiting’s presence is being missed.

“I’ve said it for too long we’re over-regulated,” Horner said. “It felt like… there’s rules about 10 car lengths but the formation lap isn’t a formation lap if it’s a restart. It feels like there are too many rules.

“It felt like today that the sport missed Charlie Whiting. I am sorry to say but the experience he had… it’s obviously frustrating but it’s difficult for Michael (Masi) and the stewards, particularly at this type of venue and this type of circuit with the amount of debris and the types of corners there are but it’s the same for everybody.

“Obviously, every decision pretty much went against us today as they did in Doha a couple of weeks ago, then we saw two incidents yesterday… it’s been variable to say the least.”

Horner was speaking before Verstappen was handed a further 10-second time penalty for causing a collision with Hamilton, but his main frustration was with the way earlier incidents between the two were handled. One such incident saw Masi offer Red Bull the choice of dropping two positions for a restart or let the stewards decide if Verstappen should be punished for retaining the lead by running wide after the first red flag.

“It’s a bit like being down the souq [market], which was unusual. I’ve not come across that previously. Obviously, we voiced our own argument, I am sure Mercedes voiced theirs. It was just very frustrating.

“We didn’t feel that the penalty, the five-second penalty was really warranted and certainly felt Lewis just drove up the back of Max’s car. Obviously, there will be a hearing shortly but it looked like he was just trying to avoid overtaking because he didn’t want to not get the DRS.

“Once Max had been awarded the five-second penalty the only chance to win the race was to try and build the five-second gap, but I think the damage that he sustained with the diffuser and the back of the car… it was impossible to pull that five-second gap.

“So then he chose to allow Lewis past and obviously was then in a mode of trying to get the car to the finish as we could see a couple of cuts after the incident on the tires that were pretty deep and just making sure you get the 18 points rather than no points.”