Red Bull chief Christian Horner slams new F1 pit wall celebration decree

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has criticized the stricter interpretation of a rule that prohibits Formula 1 team employees from climbing the pit wall for victory celebrations.

Horner said at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday that F1 would stand to lose by halting what he described as “iconic” celebrations after governing body FIA issued a new safety notice ahead of the Australian race from Sunday, the third in this year’s series.

LEARN MORE:Aussie’s little-known madness after $1.5m salary

LEARN MORE:‘Six or seven bolters’ tipped for Eddie’s first team

LEARN MORE:Caption reveals status amid diagnosis of old foe

F1 race director Niels Wittich has issued instructions that “climbing over any pit wall debris fence at any time is prohibited”.

Stating that team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane just before or after they are due to work on a car, the safety edict states that employees must exit as soon as work is completed.

“Any action by a team that violates this prohibition will be reported to the stewards,” the statement read.

After Red Bull’s Max Verstappen recorded the fastest lap time in the opening practice session around the Albert Park circuit, Horner looked puzzled by the repression.

“I’m surprised it’s an issue, to be honest with you, but I think anything about safety, obviously, has to be taken very, very seriously,” he said. “But it’s a pretty iconic moment when you see a Grand Prix car finishing a Grand Prix and its team celebrating on a fence, as long as it’s done in a safe way. Personally, I’ve never seen a problem with that. It’s always been part of Grand Prix racing.”

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown said he was unsure what prompted the crackdown, with teams facing penalties for any breaches.

“I don’t know exactly what triggered the need to change it,” he said. “I don’t know of an incident. That being said, security is of critical importance to all of us and if they feel it’s potentially unsafe, and those are the rules, we’ll stick to it.

Horner, meanwhile, is happy Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez are dueling on the track, but said they have to remember that the team comes first. The rivalry between the teammates has been the subject of significant discussion this season, with the duo sharing the first two races of the year in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship by one point after earning a bonus point for setting the fastest lap in Jeddah two weeks ago.

Perez made it clear he wanted to fight for the championship and Horner said it was good for the teammates to keep pushing each other.

“(Sergio’s) confidence is at an all-time high. And that’s exactly what we want. We want two riders who are going to push each other and challenge each other,” he said. they’re both racing drivers after all. But they know the rules of engagement, that it’s the team first, especially at this stage of the year.”

Meanwhile, organizing body FIA said it had completed a review of the bizarre circumstances that saw Alonso demoted to fourth in Jeddah for a grid infraction, only to reverse the decision soon after on appeal.

The FIA ​​has clarified the wording of a “work on the car” rule and how it will be regulated and also widened the starting grid boxes for the Australian Grand Prix.

After dominating the first two races, Red Bull was again the leader in both Friday practice sessions. Verstappen’s time of 1 minute, 18.790 seconds was the quickest of the two sessions and 0.433 seconds quicker than seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton on the first practice outing.

On a tricky day for the drivers, with the Red Bull pair among the drivers losing control in the first session, heavy rain hit Albert Park midway through the second practice session.

Fernando Alonso, who placed third for Aston Martin in the first two races, set the best time in the second practice session at 1:18.887. Ferrari’s Charles LeClerc, who won the 2022 Australian GP, ​​was second quickest, with Verstappen 0.615 seconds slower with the third fastest time.

For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by click here!

Sports Grp1

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button