Horner shrugs off social media reaction to Tsunoda criticism

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner softened his criticism of Yuki Tsunoda’s driving in qualifying but defended his reaction to the incident involving his drivers.

Both Red Bull drivers abandoned their final runs in Q3 after encountering Tsunoda at turn 10. Sergio Perez went off the track and Max Verstappen backed off, costing both the opportunity to improve on their second-row starts.

An unimpressed Horner complained his drivers had been “Tsunoda’d” after qualifying. The team’s attitude towards its junior driver prompted a critical response on social media, which Horner dismissed.

“I think the problem, if you look into into the context of what is said, these things, unfortunately social media has a habit of picking on certain lines and then exploiting them,” said Horner.

“It is important that you can still… it’d be a pretty boring world if you’re unable to comment on the performance of a driver.”

Nonetheless Horner said on Sunday evening he had revised his opinion of how Tsunoda reacted when the two Red Bull drivers appeared behind him.

“I think having had chance to consider it, I think in fairness to Yuki, perhaps he could have been helped a bit more with more information,” said Horner in response to a question from RaceFans.

Footage of the incident showed Tsunoda was not warned Perez was catching him until the Red Bull driver was four seconds behind. The stewards did not investigate the incident.

Analysis: Why Red Bull were too quick to blame Tsunoda over their spoiled Q3 laps
“The outcome was unfortunate, particularly as he was only there to give a tow for his team mate,” Horner continued. “But it is what it is. In the end, it worked out okay – starting on the second row worked out fine for us today.”

From the second row of the grid, Verstappen took the lead from Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton at the start. Verstappen went on to win the race with team mate Perez third.

“As it transpired, being on the second row was actually probably the best place to be starting this race,” said Horner. “I thought Valtteri was fair into turn one, he allowed Max enough space, which is the rule on the way down to turn one. Max made the best use of it, braked incredibly late, almost took the standard racing line into there and was able to take the lead.

“So we were just fortunate with Checo that he was able to avoid the accident between Daniel [Ricciardo] and Valtteri. But I thought it was a good start, we made the tow work and in Valtteri played fair.”

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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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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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21 comments on “Horner shrugs off social media reaction to Tsunoda criticism”

  1. Horner is experienced enough to know that you should reserve comments before knowing all the facts, specially here that it’s one of his drivers. But I’m glad he changed his views towards Yuki, there really wasn’t much he could’ve done.

    1. At least he was still right. Like I said saturday, starting p3 was a good thing. In the end Horner is going after Tost and Tost after Horner.

  2. Honestly Mr. Horner, I think you should just say “sorry Yuki, that was not fair to say” first.

  3. Incredible how this “guy” translates things around him in the most convenient and favoring way…
    To his mind, we should all stand up and applause everything he does and everything says…

  4. I think Mercedes have definitely won the PR battle this season. Toto and Lewis were both openly critical of Bottas after his start yesterday but there doesn’t seem to be the same intensity of hate towards them on social media

    1. @djarvis It depends whether the criticism is warranted.

      To my eye, Tsunoda responded as quickly as he could to the instruction he was given, so blaming him wasn’t justified. Whereas Bottas compromised his own race and his team mate’s by leaving so much room for Verstappen.

      1. It depends on how you view it. You make it sound that Bottas left room on purpose for Verstappen. But that isn’t the case, the start of Hamilton and Verstappen were good and Bottas not so much good. We don’t know what was told to Bottas before the race, how they intend to block Verstappen, how Hamilton should be given space etc. It looked like Bottas was very keen in not coming in the way of Hamilton, or maybe the case was to give a tow to Hamilton which is why he moved right first and then realized that Hamilton was already alongside etc.

        In anycase the open criticism of Wolff and Hamilton towards Bottas is no different. Had Bottas only had to race for himself maybe he would have protected P1 better. Even if Bottas could have thought better and closed off Verstappen its all split second the same amount of time Tsunoda had and Tsunoda decided to take the run off. All in all both Bottas and Tsunoda did not receive open criticism and if anything these are stuff which are debated in team meetings.

      2. @keithcollantine I’m honoured to recieve a reply from the great man himself, I’ve been reading the site since the f1fanatic days.

        In regards to your reply, I agree that the criticism of Tsunoda isn’t justified, Horner had not seen all the angles or recieved all the data when he made his flippant comment. I agree that Bottas should bear some criticism for his start but should it not have happened behind closed doors in the debrief after the race?

      3. It’s not the criticism per se, but the way it was done.

    2. @djarvis don’t know whether f1 has invented a trophy for being the most unlikeable. Whilst yuki was left to bear the brunt of the criticism, AT clearly allowed for such scenario and RB left themselves exposed. Bottas did nothing wrong, you can’t defend on that straight and nobody but Max was confortable braking that wide since nobody did so until that point.

    3. Depends on which platform you judge that notion. On overwhelmingly British platforms, Hamilton & Mercedes can’t put a foot wrong. On Dutch platforms however, it’s Max + Red Bull who are the ones who can’t do a single thing wrong.

  5. I think its fair for Bottas to be criticized for his horrendous start from his own team but I like that its an open conversation with no real hate between everyone in Mercedes. RedBull can learn a lot about Loyalty from Mercedes (which they never will, let’s be honest).

    1. You seem to have forgotten the terrible remarks Lewis made about his team during the 2016 humiliation year.
      No loyalty there.
      And remember Lewis is only “loyal” when he wins a race.

      1. 2016 humiliation year for who? Certainly not for Lewis. He won more races than his teammate, had many ups and downs and lost the title by 5 points. Humiliation only in your mind and the hate your carry for another individual you have never met. I have seen your posts and your constant criticism of Lewis, maybe look at your owm faults before berating someone else.

        1. Sir Cranemaster implied the Merc team were sabotaging him in 2016, that’s loyalty for you.

      2. You never disappoint, you always manage to dish out your bile.

  6. I still think he wasn’t wrong about criticising Tsunoda. He should have been smart enough to do a half a decent lap behind Gasly, but he decided to turtle arround the track, bringing the problems upon himself. He had a massive gap to Sainz when he let Gasly by, yet that gap evaporated in a few corners. Just look at what Norris did. He also did a tow for Ricciardo, he let Gasly pass on a spot where it doesn’t hurt, and completes a semi fast last sector behind Gasly. Tsunoda drives slow in the S corners, where nobody wants a slow car on their hotlap. Yuki had 9 (!) second gap to Sainz at turn 4. Just get on with it.

    1. @montalvo the FIA’s timing information indicates that Norris’s lap back to the pits was a 1m33.6s lap time, whereas Tsunoda’s lap back to the pits was a 1m33.9s lap time.

      There is only a difference of a couple of tenths in lap time, with Norris barely any faster than Tsunoda – if Tsunoda should have been “getting on with it”, was Norris’s lap time really that much better?

      1. It’s not about lap time, it’s about where you are slow. Norris was slow on the straights, but he followed Gasly in the 2nd part of sector 2 and full sector 3. Tsunoda should have done the same, the gap was there.

        You just don’t slow down in a corner section like that. There is really no good reason to be where he was.

    2. @montalvo thank you. Nobody is seeing the bigger picture. AT and RB almost scored an own goal, if anything Horner was questioning Tost through Yuki.

  7. Everything he says is like a politician, right down to the lack of apology for coming out with “Tsunoda’d”. Sure, criticise his driving, but I thought it was completely disrespectful to say something like that. He’d make a good Tory politician.

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