Red Bull’s complaint over Wolff’s lobbying prompted stewards’ “concern” – Horner

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he is pleased the FIA will no longer allow team members to lobby stewards before they make decisions.

Horner complained his Mercedes rival Toto Wolff visited the stewards as they deliberately whether to penalise Lewis Hamilton for his collision with Max Verstappen during the British Grand Prix.

Yesterday the stewards rejected a bid by Red Bull to reconsider their decision. However the stewards said they “note, with some concern, certain allegations made” by Red Bull in their submission. Horner said this related to Wolff’s approach to the stewards.

“Within the submission we talked about the process of approaching the stewards during the course of an event,” said Horner. “I think the FIA have obviously subsequently clarified the process for that now which we’re fine with and pleased for that clarification. So that was one of the main, pertinent reasons.”

Wolff spoke to the stewards at the invitation of FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, in a radio exchange which was broadcast during the grand prix. Horner said he was concerned the conversation could have influenced the stewards’ decision.

“We have to think of the FIA like a jury and of course you don’t want that jury to be influenced one way or another before making a decision,” he said. “We were given the absolutely assurance that wasn’t the case and absolutely respect that from the FIA.

“I think with the clarifications moving forward, as well, it just prevents that scenario even becoming a possibility in the future.”

Horner added he had no concerns over whether their unsuccessful bid to have the incident reviewed had been considered objectively.

“We felt we had new evidence that we wanted them to consider,” he said. “We felt that they were objective about that.

“The one point we did raise was the objectivity could be prejudiced if you’re influenced by having a competitor go in with data prior to a decision being made. I think that we were assured that had no influence on the decision-making.

“With the clarifications that have come out now, regarding approaching the stewards office during the course of a grand prix, I think that clearly deals with that and we’re more than comfortable with that.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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44 comments on “Red Bull’s complaint over Wolff’s lobbying prompted stewards’ “concern” – Horner”

  1. Does that include RBR pit wall complaining the Masi all the time?

    Reply moderated
    1. No is about visiting the stewards.

    2. @Fraz

      Masi is not a steward.

  2. I think it is pretty obvious now how much more hypocritical horner have become and stoop to new lows by deflecting

    1. He almost is at totos level.
      That is something to be proud of….

  3. I take it this means teams won’t be getting on the radio with Michael Masi anymore to tell him who they think is on the wrong side of a collision?

    Hearing teams lobby – and there was lobbying from both Mercedes and Red Bull – the race director during the British GP wasn’t just inappropriate – it was ridiculous. As though Masi couldn’t have guessed what they would say.

    Let’s hope that in the future they’ll only be contacting Masi if there’s an immediate safety concern.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      30th July 2021, 13:31

      You beat to it. I absolutely agree.

    2. Often situations on track are brought to attention of the race leader. Its only new they broadcast it now.
      Totally different is visiting the stewards, that’s not done!

      1. Agreed. The Race Director shouldn’t have told Wolff he was welcome to go and see the stewards. This is Masi’s doing, although he’ll probably deflect as usual.

      2. Given Toto was specifically told to visit the stewards by Masi, I fail to see how he did anything wrong. Masi may have made a mistake in telling him to do so, but I believe Toto is obliged to follow all reasonable instructions from the race director. I doubt it could be argued that Toto should have found it unreasonable.

        However, there was one team principal who we know went to see the stewards at Silverstone without being told to do so by the race director, and that’s Horner.

        1. So Toto has special clearance from Masi but Horner does not? This is on Masi for encouraging and allowing Toto access to the Stewards prior to a decision being made.
          I’m pleased the FIA has clarified that they will no longer allow visiting the Stewards. Next would have been team’s lawyers showing up in the Stewards room to help with the rules interpretation and enforcement.

          1. So you saying Horner asked?

          2. No, ian dearing, I don’t see where I said that. Is that what you want to hear? I’m sure I’ll be attacked by the Hamilton faithful anyway.

            The point is Horner didn’t have to ask. No one in the FIA stopped him, which they could have done before he reached the Stewards. They knew better since they had allowed Toto access. Common sense.

            Not allowing Horner and allowing Toto access to the Stewards would have been far worse than the way it played out.

    3. The clarification prevents the teams from going to the Stewards, not from communicating with Masi.

  4. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    30th July 2021, 13:30

    Hopefully going forward calls to Masi will also be blocked if it is about any incidents that get investigated or under review by the stewards.

  5. I thought the slogan was “Red Bull Gives You Wings.”
    Are you sure?
    Sounds more like “Red Bull Gives You Whinges!”

  6. David Donaldson
    30th July 2021, 13:40

    That Red Bull has the best reverse gear on the grid…….

    1. Though it’s scrunching quite loudly.

  7. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    30th July 2021, 13:41

    Really confused by the amount of people saying Red Bull are whinging over this? Their complaint was about team members being able to talk to the stewards and make a case before a ruling had been made, potentially influencing that choice. Which let’s be honest it obviously will – you have a 7 times world champion with the largest profile in the sport arguing at you, or the boss of a team representing arguably the most powerful and influential brand in the sport… it’s going to have an effect.

    Horner admits doing it himself – wrong, but points out he only did after discovering Wolff was already there – also wrong! In his shoes if I discovered the other guy was already arguing his case and I wasn’t, I’d consider that unfair too – I think anyone would? Red Bull were absolutely right to question that. Wolff 100% shouldn’t have been there. Bottom line is neither of them should have been there. Not Wolff, not Horner. So this ruling to stop that is totally needed.

    1. A person somewhere
      30th July 2021, 13:49

      Wolff went to the stewards at the direction of Masi. As broadcast on the world feed.

    2. @rocketpanda You’re surprised that people are whinging because Horner said something? I thought that was par for the course on here?

      1. Anything that doesn’t help Lewis win yet another world championship is frowned upon here in Racefans

    3. I don’t think Hamilton went with Wolff to see the stewards on this occasion. The fact is, none of this ‘lobbying’ would have happened had Masi not instigated it. Masi told Wolff he was welcome to go upstairs to see the stewards, so Horner should be taking issue with Masi but probably won’t as he doesn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. I think everyone needs to take a couple of ‘There, there..’ pills and chill out.

    4. It is because many feel that Horner’s messages to Masi over the radio, knowing such messages would be publicly broadcast, were an attempt to create a public backlash that would pressure the stewards into punishing Hamilton more heavily.

      We know from the testimony of several stewards that they have been subject to a lot of harassment and abuse by members of the public – Pirro has said that he nearly quit because he was suffering from mental health issues due to being bombarded by constant abuse after one case.

      The concern is that Horner’s radio message could be seen as an attempt to create such a hostile environment towards the stewards – especially when we have already seen how some on this site have behaved, and there have been some elsewhere who have been even worse.

      1. Indeed anon. Also, Horner calling the stewards a ‘jury’ really rubs the wrong way; Maybe it’s because I’m Dutch and we don’t do Jury’s, but as far as I can see, in most of continental Europa we have a system where Judges preside over cases and decide on questions of law, as well as weigh the evidence (NL has it since Napoleonic time guess why); Given the FIA is French, maybe a wider look might tell Horner the Stewards are doing the exact same sort of thing as those judges; they are not laymen in this sense but (at least one) expert (maybe bit like German system where you have ‘citizen’ judges as part of panels?).

        In general when a lawyers gets into a judge’s face with a lot of irrelevant stuff, that doesn’t do them any favours (but does waste their time). Wait, isn’t that what Red Bull effectively ended up doing with all their effort to not bring new evidence to appeal the Silverstone penalty? So, I think there’s not that much danger in it from the influencing angle, though yeah, let’s not do that during races, and keep it to minimum too so we don’t have to wait even longer until their decisions are out? But when there was any in this case, it seems to have mostly come from Horner’s team.

  8. Good decision, right decision. The only one they could come to.
    Knocking on the door of the stewards during the race or when they are reviewing a case is a big no no and major slippery slope.
    Glad they closed this off.

    1. I must agree that nobody from the teams should ever be going to the stewards without being directed to. Horner should get a slap on the wrist for that, and Masi should probably also get a dressing down for directing Toto to go to the stewards (it should be up to the stewards to summon people).

      Toto, however, followed the instructions of the race director. He did nothing wrong in visiting the stewards with evidence, because he was following a reasonable instruction.

      1. Again, so you think Toto has special rights that other teams do not?
        Toto was told he COULD go see the Stewards. He was not instructed to go see the Stewards by Masi. It wasn’t an order to go see the Stewards. In the end it does not matter as it will not happen again.

  9. Bwahahahahah, does he really believe that? The stewards said that they were concerned about the allegations made in the letter that red Bull sent. Most likely the same sad allegations they made in interviews.

    Also, if anything, that warning not to approach the stewards uninvited would be against Horner. Wolff was told he could go see the stewards by Masi. Then Horner joined on his own account and apparently caused quite the scene. Makes sense they don’t want to see that Karen again.

    1. +1
      ONLY Toto Wolfe should be allowed to see the Stewards, no one from any other team should be allowed.

      1. Why wont you acknowledge that Toto was invited, and Horner never bothered to ask; instead of this childish nonsense about only Toto be allowed? And it is perfectly normal at all levels for drivers/riders/team members to request access to RD/referee’s, etc. And either being allowed or refused. Same under Charlie, although I suspect he would have told both of them to …….

        1. If you read my posts, I do / did acknowledge that Masi allowed Toto to go to the Stewards. He was not ordered to the Stewards.

          Trying to speak down to someone else (i.e. : instead of this childish nonsense) shows your level of intellect. Notice I make no personal attacks because of your opinion.

          So are you implying Horner should not have been granted the same exact thing as Toto for the exact same Steward review?

    2. @f1osaurus Wolff says that the same remarks made in the heat of the moment of the collision were continued in discussions (presumably with the stewards) and later in the letter RB sent. He also says that these comments went beyond the boundaries of respect. Is it really plausible that the ‘concern’ expressed in the FIA stewards statement was, as Horner alleges, to do with their complaints about Wolff speaking with the stewards (at Masi’s instigation) and not the defamatory remarks he made and repeated about Hamilton? I’ve just watched the video of them speaking where Horner makes this comment. Wolff is extremely circumspect and says it’s not for him to comment on the content (of RB’s letter). This sounds to me like backtracking to avoid those allegations causing Red Bull some more serious problems and TW has basically accepted that backtracking silently for now. I presume we’ll find out sooner than later.

      1. @david-br It’s clear that the allegations made in that letter that concern the stewards were made by Red Bull. Yet Horner pretends the steward’s concerns are about Wolff visiting the stewards. That’s just ridiculous. It could be an allegation that the stewards were influenced by Wolff, but that doesn’t change anything either.

        Red Bull can spout their Trump like constant propaganda and lies in public all they want I guess. They seem to have no shame. However when you present your case in front of a “jury” then it makes sense this frowned upon.

        I saw another interview were Wolff was talking about Horner/Marko and Wolff just doesn’t want to get pulled even further in their mud slinging. You see him desperately trying to find polite words to say for what Horner is doing. And yeah they don’t really exist. So he refrains from further comment. That might feel like back tracking, but at least Wolff is trying to stay civil and truthful.

  10. This attempted spin by Horner is pretty comical.

  11. Interesting though what this will do to the brand perception of both. RedBull clearly can afford a bad boy, we give it all, disruptive kind of attitude, it is consistent with their outings. Mercedes however can’t be very pleased with how their spokesman operates. I can imagine the board of Daimler is interested to have a little talk with their business partner by now. The seniority seems way out of the window and it is not working in favour of the brand, within an activity that is under close attention already by the board.

    1. Well, I traded my Mercedes in last week. It was time for a new car and honestly the Hamilton fans soured my Mercedes need. Hamilton is a great, nothing but respect for his achievements. Lewis is a great driver. His blind faithful not so great. I have to thank them though as they made me a BMW man now and I am loving it.

      1. While that seems a bit silly to me as a reason to not go for a certain car, well, cars are also about emotion and I certainly hope the new ride delivers what you want from it, enjoy!

        1. It wasn’t the sole reason, but I would be lying if I said it had nothing to do with my decision. And thanks.

          Now I want the BMW / Williams days to come back… lol.

    2. On the contrary, Wolff, however angry he was (he was reported to have been livid by the BBC5 live team after the incident and Red Bull throwing around accusations of a deliberate collision) has been extremely respectful and cautious in his public remarks. He also acknowledged the natural worry of the ‘Verstappens’ at hospital while Mercedes were busy winning the GP and also said everyone has their views and these should be respected. Very far from the wild comments made by Horner and Marko. Very far.

  12. I don’t believe this one bit, he is spinning, the concerns in the letter are more likely said that Lewis crashed deliberately

  13. In a parallel universe, they’re boxers, they’re about to battle each other, and it’s all going to be settled at the Madison Square Garden. Austria, Germany and Switzerland are the most hyped. And Toto won it, and in the end, Christian said he was good.

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