Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

F1 “missed Charlie Whiting” today says Horner after chaotic race

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner made his view of FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi clear after a series of controversial incidents and stewards’ decisions in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Horner said the sport missed the presence of Masi’s predecessor, the late Charlie Whiting, who died on the eve of the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull team principal expressed his frustration with what he saw as inconsistent stewards decisions and questionable actions by race control as Max Verstappen was involved in multiple incidents with Lewis Hamilton before losing the lead and victory to the Mercedes driver.

Horner said the race showed that penalties in modern Formula 1 are too frequent and too inconsistently applied.

“I felt like, today, the sport missed Charlie Whiting,” Horner said. “I’m sorry to say, but the experience that he had… it’s obviously frustrating.”

Verstappen was heard complaining during the race that Hamilton had failed to stay within 10 car lengths of him during a Safety Car period ahead of a restart. That regulation is only applied during formation laps.

“I think I’ve said for too long that we’re overregulated,” Horner said. “It felt like there’s rules about 10 car lengths, but, you know, ‘a formation lap is not a formation lap if it’s a restart’. It feels like that there’s too many rules.”

Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley was heard discussing an agreement with Masi to demote Verstappen under the second red flag suspension after he was deemed to have passed Hamilton outside the circuit at turn two.

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“It was a bit like being down the souk, which is unusual,” joked Horner. “I haven’t come across that previously.”

Verstappen was later penalised with a five-second time penalty for going off track and gaining an advantage after passing Hamilton at turn two. Hamilton and Verstappen then collided while Red Bull attempted to hand Mercedes the position. Horner spoke before Verstappen was given a 10-second time penalty – which does not affect his finishing position – for the incident.

“It was just very frustrating. We didn’t feel that the five-second penalty was really warranted and certainly felt that Lewis just drove up the back of Max’s car,” Horner said. “It looked like he was just trying to avoid overtaking because he didn’t want to not get the DRS.”

Horner accepted that race control had a challenging job due to the characteristics of the new Jeddah Corniche Circuit, but believes that does not excuse what he views as inconsistency in how rules are applied. Hamilton avoided penalties following two investigation on Saturday in Jeddah:

“It’s difficult for Michael and the stewards, particularly at this type of venue and type of circuit – with the amount of debris and types of corner there are,” Horner accepted. “But this is the same for everybody.

“Pretty much every decision 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.”

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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73 comments on “F1 “missed Charlie Whiting” today says Horner after chaotic race”

  1. Whiting would have told you to sort out your driver’s driving long ago Horner.
    And that’s a fact.

    1. “F1 “missed Charlie Whiting” today says Horner after chaotic race”

      look who is talking? :) i will be damned… they are still talking after all the gift offers that no one had before… and one driver in particular got even a 25 sec penalty for obeying the rule right away! they made up the rule for 2 corners wait, guess that rule was abandoned after it has served its purpose who knows… masi is making up rules and disregards them at will just like in 2008 season dejavu…

    2. Exactlty. Big penalty T4 Brazil and again today. Possibly black flag.
      Some Red Bull wings need clipped.

      1. the race was summarized perfectly by this video…

    3. geoffgroom44 (@)
      6th December 2021, 9:45


    4. Yeah, I think we missed Whiting after the first time these two collided this year. And we missed him even more in Brazil @david-br

  2. A revamped Techical regulation set was needed for 2022. They planned it but decided it’s too complicated to rewrite it. At least they could’ve rewritten parts of it.

    1. In this case it’s the sporting one I guess; it’s too complex and should be rewritten.

      I gladly do it and will reduce its lengths by at least 50%.

  3. RandomMallard (@)
    5th December 2021, 23:03

    One of the most sensible things Horner has said all season. And I spent most of this season supporting him and RB

    1. “I think I’ve said for too long that we’re overregulated,” Horner said. “It felt like there’s rules about 10 car lengths, but, you know, ‘a formation lap is not a formation lap if it’s a restart’. It feels like that there’s too many rules.”

      That makes sense? There are too many rules, but Horner wanted a rule applied, only he admits that it’s a rule that doesn’t apply to the situation he wanted it for, but (he repeats) there are too many rules? I’ve no idea what he’s wittering on about.

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        5th December 2021, 23:19

        @david-br No that bits rubbish, but the bit about missing Charlie. Doubt Charlie would have had time for the nonsense that both of the teams keep sending Masi’s way.

        1. @randommallard Oh right, on that I agree too. But like I said above, I’m certain Whiting would have spoken to Verstappen about what he expects from his driving, especially this season, already by now Verstappen’s worst in terms of standards. And there’s no way he’d have allowed, say, the Interlagos excursion to pass.

          1. @david-br it is known that, in the past, Whiting had already spoken directly to Max about his driving standards – he did so after his blocking move in the 2016 Belgian GP.

  4. Yeah, he wouldn’t of put up with any of Max’s BS

    1. He wouldn’t have*

  5. There are too many rules because the rule Hamilton ‘broke’ doesn’t actually exist… hmmm, okay Christian.

  6. An ungrateful wretch. After all Masi tried to do for you to help you win, you and your team blew it. Charlie would not have allowed some of the nonsense your team gets up to.

    1. lol, are you kidding. As usual everything was handed to Hamilton. Everywhere Lewis could have been penalised, he wasn’t – as usual. But if there’s even a slight chance of a penalty for another team where Lewis is involved, you can be sure be sure that they’ll get it.

      It’s disgusting, but it’s been so for a while.

    2. geoffgroom44 (@)
      6th December 2021, 9:57


  7. I agree with Horner for once!
    I’ve seriously had enough of Masi now. He’s more annoying than Michael McIntyre. Today seemed like he was trying to protect the stewards after the last two races, so just wanted to be involved in everything himself.
    His embarrassing faux pas “I’ll offer you a deal to start in 2nd place”, completely forgetting about Ocon … yeah definitely mate, dounds a good deal! What a numpty.

    If a driver has to give up a position, why can’t the race director himself simply talk directly to both drivers, like Indy Car and Formula E achieve so easily?

    1. @eurobrun

      completely forgetting about Ocon

      That was actually sad :O(
      I mean for Ocon, but also for Masi, he’s completely out of his depth in the job.

  8. All decisions went against you?

    You didn’t lose any positions with penalties (it’s a decision of FIA to give out penalties that are meaningless)
    You got put in the lead because FIA decided to throw a red flag after your oponnents pitted
    You didn’t get a penalty for unsafely joining the track after running off in T1.

    I can’t even call this luck, FIA are on RB’s side. I don’t want to be this conspiracy guy but I don’t have logical explanations for what I’ve seen today.

    1. Don’t you think if fia were on rbr side they’d have given hamilton a penalty in silverstone that didn’t allow him to benefit from taking his opponent out; I don’t know, a black flag?

      1. @esploratore1 they have given ham a penalty, but did they do anything for max in brazil? it was so blatant yet they refused to even review it. masi himself already admitted it was a dirty move black/white worthy before he got it for another blatant incident.

        do you believe ham trust max was giving him way after brazil shenanigans?

    2. @ivan-vinitskyy If you actually understood how the sport works then you wouldn’t have to sink towards these conspiracy theories. It would also help if you got some basic facts right.

      “You didn’t get a penalty for unsafely joining the track after running off in T1.”

      The way such incidents are regulated is that there are two options: 1. the driver is given a time penalty, or 2. the driver who rejoins and gains and advantage gives the position back. I can’t think of any past example where a driver gave the position back AND was given a penalty.

      Now there were two such incidents at T1 this race where Max went off and was judged to have gained an advantage. The first such incident was at the first restart. In that case, ​Max clearly gave the position back for the second restart, starting 3rd behind Hamilton in 2nd.

      The second such incident was on lap 37, where Max attempted to give the position back, but Lewis instead drove into the back of him. Whatever you think of that collision doesn’t matter for this particular rebuttal, because in addition Max WAS given a five second penalty for that incident at turn 1. And then Max gave the position back again to Hamilton, which was not shown on the world feed. JP came on the radio to say “you didn’t need to do that” because he had already been given the 5 second penalty. So you’re wrong in both cases.

      “You didn’t lose any positions with penalties (it’s a decision of FIA to give out penalties that are meaningless)”

      This statement doesn’t even make sense, so difficult to comment on. However as demonstrated above, Max did lose positions, twice, due to rulings by the race director.

      “You got put in the lead because FIA decided to throw a red flag after your oponnents pitted”

      This is very very poor evidence of some kind of conspiracy. The FIA and race director have safety as their number one concern. The barrier needed to be repaired. The same thing happened in Imola and the red flag there allowed Hamilton to change his tires AND unlap himself. Otherwise he would have likely finished outside the points.

      In conclusion, get your facts straight before jumping to very stupid conspiracy theories.

      1. Zev, Did you miss the bit about “unsafely joining the track” or just chose to ignore it because addressing advantage point was easier?
        On my main point on penalties, why are you finding it difficult understanding the basic premise of penalties? They should be leveling the game so fairness is maintained and they need to be consequential to be an effective deterrent. These penalties the FIA chose to assign did neither of those things. I’m not referring to “give the position back”, that’s not a penalty.
        As for red flag, I’ve seen no evidence that there was any repair work being done or even evidence that work was needed before red flag. Sure, I speculate but so are you by stating that racing director is goverened by safety concerns mainly. Too many bad decisions by Masi were made in that race but also others this year, so it’s not unwarranted to question his motives.

  9. Not just today, I commented months ago that all the technical disputes (bending rear wings, etc) wouldn’t have occurred either if Whiting was still around.
    Probably not much will change in the next few years though, as it creates added drama for the new fans.

  10. Max cut a corner and rejoined the track unsafely, cut a corner again and caused a collision and then caused a collision again by brake testing Hamilton. For all this he only had to give the positions back, received a 5 second penalty and after the race a meaningless time penalty. How does Horner dare to complain about “every decision going against them”.

    1. You know when max got a 5 second penalty for leaving the track, Hamilton also left the track?

      1. Ham was forced wide, thats an avoiding action – not voluntary going off.

  11. Oh my God! This shameless and ungrateful Horner… after all what Michael Masi has done for Max this season and often even making himself a clown.

  12. Yes, it did. I doubt Whiting would have allowed it to descend into the farce we ended up watching.

  13. Pretty gross to invoke the name of the former director who died in office as a way to criticize the current director, especially after that display on the track. No grace or class.

    1. And he’ll never change Dave. No decorum, no sense whatsoever of fair sportsmanship, and no respect for the spirit of the rules or those that uphold them. Mind, a “man” who sees fit to cheat on, and leave his heavily pregnant wife clearly has no morality whatsoever. I have no idea how Mateschitz justifies having such a character in the position.

  14. a formation lap is not a formation lap if it’s a restart

    This quirk in the rules bugs me too, same as it did when Kimi was penalised at Imola.
    They should be trusted to head back to the grid like grown up boys, rather than following the SC.

    1. @eurobrun

      in spa, they didnt even race a single lap let alone an official race start, but considered it raced and handed a win to max in a golden plate and called it a day, why are you surprised :)

  15. I clearly remember drivers and engineers swearing at Whiting when he was around over decisions taken by stewards

  16. Yeah, I agree but not in the way Horner intended. Charlie Whiting wouldn’t have called the first Red flag after those many laps in the SC period for “fixing the punctured barrier” that arguably would’ve left Verstappen languishing in P3.

    1. whiting would call it red flag instantly, and not wait many laps after many pitted, only to gift someone a free unfair pit stop and front row start… and def wouldnt let max get away with the first corner incident which would have deserved him 2 separate penalties!

      1. only to gift someone a free unfair pit stop and front row start…

        We’ve seen it in Monza last year and Imola this year as well; Red Flags are just terrible and artificially break up a race in a few Sprint Races with random grids.

        1. Which is why in the past they were very rarely decided on jff, but on the other hand, safety does make it sometimes arguably the better choice. But then indeed, do it pro-actively as @mysticus said.

          1. @bosyber

            exactly the point, this decision combined with all others, it almost looked like they waited for everyone to pit to gift max a free pit stop. Everyone saw the impact, they should have known the impact and had marshalls in the area, they waited from lap 10 to 13, and only in the very last sec they decided safety was important. the impact was severe enough and they shouldnt have waited to make a decision that long!

    2. It is unfair to speculate what “Charlie would have done”. However, it was obvious that Mick’s crash damaged the TechPro barriers and needed to be replaced implying an immediate red flag.

      Similarly, Red Bull should have been told to demote Verstappen behind Hamilton or face a steward inquiry.

      Rather than being incompetent, Masi takes the Race Director role too seriously and tries to “direct the show” as if it is a WWE event. This also extends to the FIA in general where penalties are being applied in a very calculated manner for the benefit of the show.

      They basically need people who would deal with the situation irrespective of the circumstances which Masi is unable to.

      1. @f1g33k

        Red Bull should have been told to demote Verstappen behind Hamilton or face a steward inquiry.

        They were, just in gentler terms

      2. @f1g33k

        However, it was obvious that Mick’s crash damaged the TechPro barriers and needed to be replaced implying an immediate red flag.

        It was not obvious to Mercedes. It seems that some damage (a puncture) requires replacement, but other damage does not.

  17. Who does this guy think he is?

    Unbelievable levels of arrogance.

    I don’t think I could stomach this team winning the World Championship after some of this man’s antics

  18. It’s probably not the time or place to say it, cheap shot, but let’s be honest….he’s not far wrong.

    Charlie was not perfect by any means, he made mistakes but sometimes you don’t really know just how good somebody is at their job until the next guy comes along.

    Glaring stuff seems to be happening under his watch every single race weekend. Often multiple times.

  19. Been saying this for weeks, but I doubt many more of the decisions would go Red Bulls way with Whiting around.

    The rules aren’t don’t say “You get a decision your way, then your opponents get a decision their way.” Each incident needs to be judged on their merit, and ideally in a timely manner.

    F1 under Masi’s watch has gone from, we have all the information and angles to make a sound and timely decision to:
    “Oh, I didn’t see that before I made the penalty “offer” sorry let me get back to you.”
    “We didn’t have that onboard available at the time of the decision.”
    “Each set of stewards will have their own interpration of the rules.”

    For a “sport” with so much money involved, it’s a joke.

    1. It did feel clearer and more consistent under Whiting though.

      In the end the decisions level out, but – just look at the comments here – it brings out the worst (of) commenters.

      There is nowadays very little constructive discussion on this site but just dug-in ‘fans’ shouting at everything.

      1. +1 It is sad to see how much hate fans throw back and forth. There are some extremely vitriolic Lewis fans about particularly.

        1. How does naming Max’s bad behaviour make you a Lewis fan? Could it be that plenty of us would like to enjoy a fair championship? We’re only asking for clear rules to be applied to everyone in the same way.
          In any case Max deserves the vitriol this weekend, regardless of who you support.

  20. Sorry but this is a low blow, disgraceful from Horner

  21. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
    6th December 2021, 0:28

    I get the gist of Horner’s point…but he had best kept it to himself really. The rules have seemed to be inconsistent, the race control reactive and laggardly.

  22. Masi is always the scape goat because he’s “the new guy” and not “Charlie”.
    Stewards make the decisions on all things penalties.
    Domenicali/Brawn make the decisions on all rules in F1.
    .. Masi is the race director. His job is to deploy safety cars, decide flags etc…

    1. Stewards make the decisions on all things penalties

      Yeah nah, not when he’s offering penalty deals to teams before referring the incident to the stewards. That was a whole new low. He’s making the rules up as he goes along.

  23. If RB and Horner are off F1, it will be a great sport again. But if they both are gone, who will pamper the God of F1.

  24. I agree at least with this bit: “It feels like that there’s too many rules.”

    The complexity of F1 has gone over the top in the past few decades. The sporting rules have nearly a hundred pages of text in them, clearly a sign – at least for me – that something should be changed. Make the rules simpler, with no exceptions to exceptions.

  25. Bobson Dugnutt
    6th December 2021, 6:44

    Poor Taste.

    Not that anything else than mud slinging was to be expected from Horner and Marko after the race.

  26. Karen Spice has got more neck than a giraffe.
    As for Vera Slapem? Minimum for last nights on & off track behaviour. 1Race BAN.
    His outrageous disrespect & petulance on the podium culminating in storming off?
    F1. F1 Fans worldwide. Race director. Stewards. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. City of Jeddah. The packed grandstand fans.

  27. geoffgroom44 (@)
    6th December 2021, 10:00

    Haren Horner’s comment would have been better reserved for private meetings with stewards,etc. This petulent behaviour,reminiscent of a spoilt child in kindergarten, does not serve the sport well.
    This is not a question of whether I agree with him or not,it is an issue of perception as to the manner of the moaning.

    1. geoffgroom44 (@)
      6th December 2021, 10:00


  28. I’m actually really starting to hope RBR fall behind Ferrari and McLaren with the next set of technical regulations and act on their constant threats to leave the sport – I am utterly sick to the back teeth of Horner and Marko’s constant crocodile tears, blaming everyone and anyone but themselves and this CONSTANT bringing up of regulations – either trying to force penalties when it’s in their favour, or whinging about it when it isn’t.

    I’d also be quite happy to see the back of Max on the grid – Lewis is old enough and experienced enough to work around his awful driving attitude, but a 4 way fight between him, Charles, Lando and George will be tough to watch, I think.

    1. And yes, bringing Charlie’s name up to try and shame the current stewards and Masi (even if he is looking more and more out of his depth) is just shameful. Whiting would have thrown the book at Max and told Horner to close his trap well before now…

  29. Isnt there a rule where a red flag resets the grid? After the crash with perez and Mazepin should the next start been the same with verstappen p1 and Hamilton p2? Why was this rule scraped?

    If this was the normal start, we would had gone back to original positions?

    1. I thought the same but then remembered a number of years ago Alonso caused a red flag by blitzing round the track into an accident littered track and actually ended up finishing third despite crashing. I suspect given the outrage at the time that it felt a little crap that a driver could benefit in this manner they changed the rule.

      They now use the much vaguer rule of:
      In all cases the order will be taken at the last point at which it was possible to determine the
      position of all cars. All such cars will then be permitted to resume the sprint qualifying session
      or the race.

      In other words the race director can decide where he wants the order to be taken from it would seem.

  30. Yes, if only they could go back to the good old days where proper sportsmanship was paramount. Legends like Senna, Schumacher, Ecclestone and Alonso would never have been caught up in controversial outcomes.

    1. This made me chuckle 🤣🤣

  31. It’s difficult for Michael and the stewards, particularly at this type of venue and type of circuit – with the amount of debris and types of corner there are,” Horner accepted.

    What Horner is saying without actually realizing it, is the Saudi track is totally unsuitable for F1.

  32. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th December 2021, 14:44

    I wonder how long Max will be driving for Red Bull. Clearly the car is made for Max as Gasly, Albon, and Perez are all 0.5 seconds slower. If they had made a car that suited Perez and Gasly, they’d have had the same performance and 2 winning cars and no crashes…

  33. Horner has turned into a whining, obnoxious prat. whiting would have told him to grow up and put Verstappen on serious warning of being banned for a race or two.

  34. Max was ahead on points and now has the tie breaker with number race wins, so he nothing to lose and everything to gain if he crashes with Lewis and takes them both out of the race. We can only hope that if he’s responsible for that kind of crash in the last race that FiA will disqualify Max from the drivers title.

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