Mercedes made ‘concerted campaign to discredit’ Verstappen’s title win – Horner

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner accuses Mercedes of trying to undermine Max Verstappen’s world championship success.

In brief

Mercedes tried to “discredit” Verstappen as champion – Horner

Horner insisted Mercedes made a strategic error by failing to pit Lewis Hamilton when the Safety Car period began in the title-deciding race, even though doing so would have given Red Bull the opportunity to get Verstappen ahead of his rival and into a championship-winning position.

Mercedes’ criticism of the handling of the restart by FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi was a “smokescreen” to deflect from their strategy, added Horner, who denied the official had failed to follow the rules correctly.

Horner also drew attention to Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff’s decision not to attend the official FIA prizegiving ceremony, instead choosing to send the team’s technical director James Allison to collect their constructors championship trophy.

“There was a concerted campaign by our rivals to discredit our achievement, even to the point of the FIA prize-giving, and it is a tactic that has been employed by Mercedes in other championships as well,” Horner told the Daily Mail. “As for the idea that the result was influenced by the need for entertainment over sport, I don’t agree with that, either.”

‘I don’t feel like I’ve been away’ – Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Magnussen is back for a seventh season of F1
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen said he’s picked up where he left off in F1 after his return following a year away.

“It’s certainly been fun driving all these different cars last year, I had a great time,” he said. “I think Le Mans with my dad, that was super-cool, although we had a shitty race.”

He said he “just felt very comfortable” when he got back into an F1 car for the first time on Friday. “It just felt like another off-season had gone. I didn’t feel like I’ve been away for a whole year. It felt fine.”

Being number one is a boost, not a burden – Vettel

Becoming world champion won’t place added pressure on Verstappen according to Sebastian Vettel, the last driver to win the title with Red Bull.

“It’s a long time ago for me,” he said, “but from what I remember I think it’s a boost. It takes a lot of weight, in a way, off your shoulders.

“It’s a great feeling to start the season as world champion. You have the number one on your car, so it’s a privilege. I think we would all like to be in that position. It can only be one of us.

“I didn’t see it as an extra burden. If anything, it was a boost. So I think he will probably feel the same. But then everybody’s different.”

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Comment of the day

This weekend’s Caption Competition winner is @Kartguy07:

Lando realised that he had a massive advantage in the new Le Mans-style start procedure.
@Kartguy07

Thanks to everyone who joined in and special mentions to Sonny Crockett, Asanator and NinjaBadger who all came up with great suggestions this week. Look out for our next Caption Competition after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

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On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1957 Eugenio Castellotti was killed in a crash while testing for Ferrari at Modena

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  • 178 comments on “Mercedes made ‘concerted campaign to discredit’ Verstappen’s title win – Horner”

    1. I don’t think I can quite describe my contempt for Horner and that’s before he peddled that long disproven lie.
      I’d say I’d expect better from him but frankly I don’t.

      1. So true. It’s funny because the amount he’s protesting makes me believe he sees things the same way. He’s doing all he can to validate the Championship. Desperate.

      2. Maybe, but as it was the Daily Mail he just as well could have said “I like coffee in the morning”…

      3. It’s really bad but because he’s (only) clashing with Wolff who is just as bad, they cancel each other out for me. So I don’t mind it as much. And they both mention ‘damaging the sport’ here and there. Like slinging mud at each other isn’t…
        Best scenario (regarding their behaviour) would be if Ferrari take a comfortable 1-2 at the first couple of races and Red Bull and Mercedes are fighting hard to keep McLaren behind. That would shut both of them up nicely :-)

        Not going to lie: if that scenario would be true we’ll be in for another great season because I believe both Red Bull and Mercedes are capable of developing quicker than Ferrari…

        1. William T Mullenberg
          14th March 2022, 18:13

          How many win are you predicting for Maclaren? I will guess Lando 4 Riccardo 3. Ferrari 3 wins 7 podiums.

          1. @William T Mullenberg:
            I have a pessimistic crystal ball. None. I feel Red Bull will be ahead. I feel Mercedes is ahead. And if they’re not they will be a few races in. So best chances would be the early races. But they’re behind because of the brakes and Ricciardo missing valuable time.
            Ferrari however.. They actually might be up there for the first races. But I believe Mercedes will out-develop them if they’re not ahead the first race anyway.

      4. The only ones that had discredited Max’s championship are the FIA and Masi.

        I feel a little sorry for Max in this regard as that final race farce was nothing to do with him. However clearly when something like that happens the race win is instantly tarnished and given that it was that race win that clinched the title then his title is also tarnished and always will be. Horner seems to conveniently forget the concerted campaign of hate towards Hamilton after Silverstone that he personally waged along with Marko.

        1. Well said

        2. Horner seems to conveniently forget the concerted campaign of hate towards Hamilton after Silverstone that he personally waged along with Marko.

          Definitely the pot calling the kettle black.

        3. Lee1 “the concerted campaign of hate towards Hamilton after Silverstone that he personally waged along with Marko.” Simply untrue inflammatory. While they expressed disappointment and at LH and Mercedes in general for their celebrations after the race that they thought (rightly or wrongly) could have been more low key given the circumstances, it was the usual social media frenzy amongst those who choose to do so who did all the hate-filled interaction. In the heat of the moment they (RBR and fans) were also sore from Max being taken out and being in a heavy contact with the wall, LH getting a minimal penalty, then getting to have his car repaired under the red flag that he himself caused, and then on to the win.

          Surely it is understandable that RBR felt burned in Silverstone, and their heat of the moment reactions would have been similar to any team who might have gotten burned the same way. But the rest of it was social media garbage, and not on CH or HM. And before you say they coulda, shoulda kept their mouths shut, that’s not realistic, and even if they had that would not have stopped the social media goons from having their over the top field day with the events of that race.

          1. @robbie So Red Bull didn’t stage a “reconstruction” of the incident and try and have the penalty increased? No one in the Red Bull team suggested the accident was caused deliberately?

            Red Bull might be fast, but I don’t think there’s a single real racer on that team.

            1. @fluxsource Putting together what they thought might be the ‘new evidence’ that they would have had to have brought to the table in order to have their appeal upheld, even though it failed to be considered new evidence, is not anything to do with any alleged “concerted campaign of hate towards Hamilton after Silverstone.”

              RBR are fast as well as being real racers, which is why they had a hard time dealing with LH, you know, the penalized one, hitting Max, damaging his own car in doing so, getting to have it repaired under the red flag he caused, and then going on for the win, and then going on to celebrate it like it was all good… all just in a days work.

              If RBR suggested the accident was caused deliberately (I don’t recall the exact quotes) let’s recall that it was Button I believe, or maybe Hill, as Sky commentators, that did suggest that LH was being deliberately stubborn, as he was at the end of his rope after having to cede to Max on several occasions including in the Sprint the day before, and was just not going to have that anymore. It totally reminded me of the day Nico didn’t cede to LH either, and there was contact, because he (Nico) was just tired of being forced to decide to back off, go off, or hit him. So he hit him. I even said it at the time, that I didn’t think Nico intentionally set out to hit LH, but he did decide to be intentionally stubborn if the circumstance arose.

          2. Robbie, do you really think one of the reactors on this piece is interested in any nuance?
            They are mostly hamfans and as such following the Keith piper.

          3. @Robbie

            Putting together what they thought might be the ‘new evidence’

            Yeah, for some really strange reason the FIA didn’t accept a re-enactment using the previous years car (which didn’t handle as well as either of the two cars involved in the actual incident) and a driver that wasn’t good enough to keep the 2nd driver role in RB as “evidence” (new or otherwise)

            is not anything to do with any alleged “concerted campaign of hate towards Hamilton after Silverstone.”

            True, the “re-enactment” isn’t part of that. However, both Marko and Horner were accusing LH of attempted murder and demanding a race ban (Marko IIRC)

            RBR are fast as well as being real racers, which is why they had a hard time dealing with LH, you know, the penalized one, hitting Max,

            I don’t count being on the same bit of tarmac that MV is trying to cut through to hit the apex of the corner as “hitting” as “being hit” is the better description.
            Should LH have braked before that so that he wasn’t available to hit? Possibly.

            If Max hadn’t cut in aggressively there would have been no collision. MV made a judgement call and got it wrong when he assumed LH would brake, like he had on other races.

            and then going on to celebrate it like it was all good… all just in a days work.

            He’d been informed that Max was out of the car and OK. (MV was sent to UHCW for checks that the local facility couldn’t do)

            It totally reminded me of the day Nico didn’t cede to LH either, and there was contact, because he (Nico) was just tired of being forced to decide to back off, go off, or hit him. So he hit him.

            Ah, now there you wrong Nico.
            He made a mistake in not leaving a car’s space alongside at a point the track was narrowing. LH couldn’t brake in a straight line when half on turf, at that point it was “proceed to the point of the accident” as Brundle likes to put it.

            1. SteveP I stopped at “attempted murder”

            2. So first, the steward’s note said that when car 33 turned in, car 44 failed to avoid contact. I say, car 33 had enough room to make it through the corner without contact, so it should have been a racing incident.

              Secondly, CH accused Hamilton of being an idiot, clumsy, dangerous, and yes, endangering Max’s life with “a stunt like that”.

              Had Max avoided that collision, he’d have won the championship clean, regardless of what went down at Abu Dhabi.

            3. @Robbie:

              SteveP I stopped at “attempted murder”

              I don’t blame you. Just typing that stuff and remembering left a nasty tinge in my mind. I know they (HM/CH) were upset, but the paddock rants that day were a bit extreme.

              Hopefully a bit quieter this year. Merc looks slower.

            4. SteveP Lol I like your response so let’s proceed;)

              Regarding Copse imho the reason LH was the penalized one and predominantly at fault is that Max had done everything he was supposed to do, and any criticism of that is borne of the use of hindsight. Just as LH has done countless times, Max left room for his opponent to race, but LH never had a realistic chance of using the space given, and/or he chose to not back off this time, which is why the stewards deemed that he hit Max, not the other way around. Max left room when he needed to, and he always owned the corner as LH was simply not in a strong position, and when Max, well within is rights, drifted right, LH had decided this time his hand was not going to be forced. And so there was contact.

              Yes of course Max was taking a risk by assuming LH was going to back off as he was being squeezed, legally, and that is exactly how these kinds of moves work, just as LH has countless shown. At some point it is fine for the leading driver to put on the squeeze and leave it up to the trailing driver to back off, go off, or be hit. That has some risk to it. That is why it is called hard racing. LH chose not to back off this time. It is complete and utter perfection of hindsight to say Max should have done this or that. Max was racing for the corner at that time and was winning it. If LH had done what he had forced Nico to do countless times, there would not have been an issue. Max was just doing what he thought was best in those milliseconds, and can’t exactly be out there afraid to be aggressive and challenging, as that is the very WDC type level of stuff he is expected to do. It is how you own the real estate. It is how you make others leery and cautious around you, which is to his benefit, again, when you have started off by fairly leaving the space you are obliged to do.

              The Nico/LH incident I was referring to was not the one you are. I won’t be able to come up with the race or the season in the moment, but the one I’m thinking of was when LH went inside Nico, squeezed him on the way through, forcing Nico to go off, back off, or hit him, and this time Nico was stubborn as he had had enough of this happening to him too often, so he chose to hit LH, which cut LH’s rear tire.

              Yeah I do think it should be a quieter year this year but who knows, right? One race at a time and let’s see how the story unfolds this year.

      5. Naughty Neutral
        14th March 2022, 20:15

        What lie?

        That 44 & Co ran a campaign to throw shade at MV and RB?

        Regardless if you like Horner or not, they did.

    2. Classic Horner. Not surprised )-8

      1. Me neither. He is on PAR with Wolff and the sport would be better of without these two. He is not wrong however. A scripted character assassination from Mercedes from the get go of the season. Worrying stuff as it shows how far they are prepared to go for their investments.

        1. Horner’s propaganda is still working on you if you constantly go “but Mercedes are evil too” – because he’s managed to get into your head that whatever he does, you must find more fault in Mercedes and still push the narrative he wants. You complain about Mercedes promoting a “scripted character assassination”, but seem oblivious that you are pushing Horner’s scripted character assassination and doing the very same thing you attack others for.

          1. Noframingplease (@)
            14th March 2022, 9:37

            @anon Please stick to the article please and look what Horner really is saying and what of these accusations are real. After the last race Wolff was the first to feed the gossip about a possibility Lewis was leaving the sport. After that in many, many media mister Wolff explained in a rather superior way that this is not racing the kind his team wants, and that what happened in the last race was the worst thing that happened in his live. You are probably not in to the world of media psychology (and I see many of are not) but the game that mister Wolff is playing is a lot smarter than mister Horner. His game of managing media, Fia etc isn’t directly Daily Mail stuff, but of a much higher level, that even the fans here don’t recognize it. We will see how effective his campaign is when we are at Silverstone this year. I predict a lot af boooo’s for Verstappen, just like ‘the best fans in the world’ did for Rosberg (but forgot that at the same time when it happened to Lewis). All fans are the same, but some of them feel a bit more superior. Propaganda of mister Horner? This is pure a simple, not very smart, reaction to a person who likes to say he want’s competition but is only in for dominance.

          2. I am calling it as I saw the season unfold. All was well until Max started winning. Mercedes then went to great length to influence the public oerception of Max. Subsequently Lewis bumped him off at Silverstone. Afyer these two events, the RB camp decided to fight fire with fire. Something I personally wouldn’t have done. But for Mercedes to be surprised by that is plain stupid after all they started. Sore losers they turned out to be instead of a dignified multiple WCC. To me they have thrown away all their brand values in a single season. Such a shame since their technical accomplishments are huge. The whole team suffers under this PR machine. And I am most certainly not saying Horner is an inch better

    3. Can we move on Christian. 2021 is over.

      I am so hoping that Ferrari has indeed made a jump on both RBR and Mercedes so we can hear less from both team principals.

      Let’s face it, 2021’s result isn’t going to change any more than the World Cup result did after the “ hand of God” incident, and at the end of the day no one will really remember it.

      Hopefully once we get started on the weekend the focus will shift to 2022.

      1. RandomMallard
        14th March 2022, 0:38

        @dbradock

        Yh I hope after next weekend (after the results of the inquiry which are, at least from the last I heard, due to be released on Friday 18th) we can move on. It’s important that lessons are learned, there’s no doubt about that, but I think the focus should now be on the future and making sure those lessons are indeed learnt, rather than on the past. That includes journalists constantly asking the team principals about Abu Dhabi as well.

        And agree about hopefully hearing less from both Wolff and Horner.

      2. I agree the result won’t be changed, @dbradock but I certainly don’t think many will forget it. I’ve been watching F1 for about 300 years and it’s the most shameful thing I’ve seen.

        1. Naughty Neutral
          14th March 2022, 20:19

          Yes. I pleasantly remember how Mercedes lost. I feel sorry for them, but they deserved to lose the overall championship, when you look at the overall stats and their behavior.

          Can we start racing now? I’m done with the endless ‘MV did not deserve bla bla. I will always remember bla bla bla.’

      3. Absolutely @dbradock. We don’t know when this interview took place but why for goodness sake doesn’t he drop it. It was Merc who were disadvantaged if anyone and yet he’s still droning on about it.

        This is the reason I dislike RBR. Their management. Every time he opens his mouth my eyes roll.

        1. @phil-f1-21 @dbradock “We don’t know when this interview took place” to me is exactly the point. To me some of CH’s quotes seem to already be a week or two old, so this article seems to have been crafted to make it seem like CH is still banging on about this stuff. I don’t think that is the case so I think it is unfair to say to CH “Can we move on…” That question should be asked of media.

        2. Naughty Neutral
          14th March 2022, 20:20

          Strange. I have the same thing with Wolff.

      4. I Agree! Can we move on? Its quite tiring this childish behavior from both TW and CH.

    4. RandomMallard
      14th March 2022, 0:31

      And this is one of the reasons I really don’t like Horner. I don’t dislike Red Bull (I know of a few people who work or have worked there and they’re lovely people), but their management really drives me up the wall. Loses points for talking to the Daily Mail as well.

      To be honest, I think Mercedes handled it fairly well. Maybe you could argue the Prize Giving incident was a bad mark but I think dropping the appeal was definitely the best decision they could have made. Not that I like Wolff much more than Horner to be honest.

      Wow 6 hours for Mick. Definitely happy to see Magnussen back in the paddock myself.

      Shocking inaccuracies at Brands Hatch in GT7

      Well done @kartguy7

      1. RandomMallard
        14th March 2022, 0:32

        Oh whoops that should be :

        Well done @kartguy07

      2. RandomMallard
        14th March 2022, 0:40

        And wow it appears I can’t use greater than/less than symbols to label that GT7 bit as sarcasm. Annoying but good security policy

      3. How is it different or worse than what Wolff has been doing?
        Apart from you matter of perspective.

        1. Jerzy Kolodziej
          14th March 2022, 13:06

          How is it different or worse? That is really the most simple of answers. Wheatley and Horner asked Masi to cheat so Verstappen could win the race and the championship. He duly obliged and broke the regulations on the use of the safety car. I cannot think of any other occasion in any sport where the officials have conspired to defraud a competitor in such a brazen and public way.

          Gaslight all you want, but there is not changing the facts. Under the regulations the race could only have finished under safety car conditions and there was absolutely no discretion to depart from the regulations under the circumstances.

      4. Loses points for talking to the Daily Mail as well.

        Same as any site headlining the ‘deja vu all over again’ rhetoric, and the commenters repeating their dug-in statements.

        There is so much interesting (technical) stuff to be shared and discussed with these new cars. We’re actively lowering ourselves to another tabloid.

      5. @RandomMallard

        Maybe you could argue the Prize Giving incident was a bad mark but I think dropping the appeal was definitely the best decision they could have made.

        Realistically, the only thing they could have achieved was to nullify the race result, which wouldn’t have benefited them.

        1. @aapje Agreed, that’s the conclusion I came to as well. They didn’t drop it because they couldn’t win the case, but because winning the case probably wouldn’t be of benefit to them.

          It is similar to people I know who have had a case they could have taken to court over, say, unpaid rent. They would most likely win, but the person who owes them could not afford to pay. They may end up with a settlement of £5/wk until it is paid off… This would not be worth the effort, so it is just dropped. That doesn’t mean they are not owed the money, both legally and morally, but they would get nothing from winning the case so it isn’t worth it.

          The same goes here. The race director screwed the pooch, and it is likely that Mercedes would have won. However, the most likely result of that win would have been the nullification of the race result at AD, which would have been of no benefit to Mercedes at all, so it wasn’t worth them continuing.

        2. RandomMallard
          14th March 2022, 23:22

          @aapje and @drmouse 100% agree. Mercedes were always going to be fighting a losing battle with that case, both on terms of litigation (FIA courts dealing with a case where the FIA itself is a party), and in terms of outcome, where as you say I think the only realistic outcome would have been a null and void race that would still have seen Max crowned champion.

          That’s the reason I think it was the best move they could have made. Not fighting a losing battle is probably good for them both internally and externally.

      6. Coventry Climax
        14th March 2022, 12:09

        @RandomMallard:
        Generally quite agree with you, but here, I actually think that dropping the appeal was the worst thing to do ever.
        It’s like saying you are right, but willing to say you aren’t when certain conditions are met.
        You might even argue (I will, I hate the man) that it was a very deliberate, spiteful, Wolf-style decision, recognising there was no gain to be made by Mercedes continuing their appeal whereas withdrawing it keeps the controversy alive until the end of days.
        Had they gone on with the appeal, the outcome would likely have been either the FIA saying nothing was done wrong, or a nullification of the race. Either way, Max would still have been champion.
        The only chance for Mercedes to get Hamilton the title would have been an appeal’s outcome where in hindsight, the last race’s results would have been taken from before the safetycar period, with full, half or even quarter points, but that’s a very, very unlikely and equally unprecedented outcome.

        1. I don’t think it was a “deliberate, spiteful, Wolf-style decision”, but I do think it was withdrawn because they had next to no chance of changing the result of the championship in their favour. The most likely outcome, other than an FIA cover-up, was a nullification of the race result, which would not have been helpful.

          That said, I did post on Merc’s FB page after they withdrew the appeal that I had lost a lot of respect for them. IMHO it would have been far better for F1 for this to have been thrashed out once and for all, instead of letting this debacle drag on. They had the resources to take this all the way. Instead, we have been left with a mess which is unlikely to go away for a long, long time.

          1. @drmouse

            You don’t get to run a top team in F1 if you put F1 before the team. For example, hiding the huge engine advantage was good for Mercedes, but bad for F1 in the long term by creating a very long period of no real competition (and also resulting in a lot of cynicism about Mercedes that is on display here frequently, where they see all comments by Mercedes people of issues they have, as lies).

            I assume that F1 have instructed the new race directors to not do any of these shenanigans, so what would an appeal achieve anyway? F1 would just lose face, but nothing would really change otherwise, other than this being a news story for even longer.

            1. @aapje

              I assume that F1 have instructed the new race directors to not do any of these shenanigans, so what would an appeal achieve anyway?

              How can we assume this? What evidence do we have? The rules don’t look like they are going to be changed, no public statement has been made that either the stewards’ interpretation was wrong or that it should be interpreted differently in future. As things stand, there is a precedent that these kind of shenanigans are acceptable and legal, and no official communication that they shouldn’t be.

            2. @drmouse

              Because they replaced Masi. To interpret that differently, you have to imagine that F1 was happy with how Abu Dhabi ended, but sacked Masi just over the other stuff. That seems far fetched.

              As things stand, there is a precedent that these kind of shenanigans are acceptable and legal, and no official communication that they shouldn’t be.

              What precedent?

              …is how I expect this to go. Everyone will pretend that it didn’t happen and won’t do it again.

              Ultimately, you seem to be under the false illusion that people have principles. They for the most part do not and they will gladly defend things based on ‘principles’, when the outcome is to their liking. Then in other situations where those same ‘principles’ could be applied, but where applying them would support a decision they don’t like, they won’t even mention those ‘principles.’

              This is why we need clear rules in the first place, so people don’t just get to rationalize whatever outcome they prefer, based on cherry picked ‘principles’. In court, precedent can become a rule, but that’s not typically how it works.

            3. @aapje

              Everyone will pretend that it didn’t happen and won’t do it again.

              You see, this is the bit I can’t quite accept. Without something official, there is absolutely nothing to stop another race director doing the same or similar. Maybe it won’t ever happen again, maybe people will look at it and say “nobody will ever pull those shenanigans again”… But then again I’m pretty sure that most people, if asked before AD, would have said that would never happen (including Masi, Horner, etc). Even if it was a mistake, it has been confirmed as a valid and legal mistake by the stewards.

              Some people have been arguing on here that the reason nothing official has been stated because the FIA want the rules to be ambiguous. They want to be able to manipulate and interpret them however they feel at any time. That’s what I am worried about. It’s not that this specific thing will happen again, but that they’ve shown their hand and the precedent set allows the race director almost unlimited power over the safety car procedures and race starts, no matter what the rest of the rules say. The stewards have confirmed this in an official ruling, and nothing official has contradicted this… How can we have any faith that it won’t be repeated, or even something worse being done and justified with the “God Rule”?

            4. @drmouse Totally agree.

              If the rules aren’t changed, if a Race Director doesn’t directly interfere, then we can only assume that he approves of the race result – not that he can’t change it.

    5. I guess even bad publicity is good publicity for Gran Turismo, or is it an easter egg? I think that is Tommy Hill and John Hopkins circa 2011, that was THE epic title decider.

    6. I just wish Horner will find happiness

      1. He could make a start by declining a few interviews. It looks like RB give him carte blanche to say whatever he wants, and he clearly isn’t PR managed. Other than him getting his teeth fixed a few years ago, I don’t think he cares what his public perception is, only that he wins at any cost. Kind of admirable in its own depraved little way.

    7. I think just simply holding Horner in contempt without addressing the issues at hand shows weakness in ones argument or lack thereof. It’s like being in primary school again. Just an observation. Horner’s points are relevant.

      1. Horner’s points are relevant.

        Absolutely, @stash. It’d be really great if more people could acknowledge that – even if they don’t like him. Rejecting his views is just being dismissive and inward-looking.
        Open your mind, people.

        And while it’s open, consider that Horner isn’t the one running out to find a journo to put his point across again and again.
        Works the other way around…. You get asked a question, you answer it.

        Lots of people are saying they dislike the current divisive nature of F1 ‘fandom’ – yet this (and may other) comments section is a perfect example of exactly why it’s like that.

        1. No, the points are not relevant. That race was gifted to Max by Masi by breaking the safety car rules and no amount of poor strategy allegations and other talk can change those facts. And his accusations of Mercedes undermining Max are totally laughable coming after the latest DTS series where his real character was on full display. What a nasty piece of work!

          1. Does that DTS stuff really work in you?

          2. For you I mean. Its not very good journalism, far from it in fact. But I agree Horner is not a nice man. On PAR with Wolff. Luckily Horner is not intelligent enough to incorporate this behavior into the teams strategy. Wolff however clearly scripts things with the PR team and makes the anti competition propaganda, together with the underdog narrative a part of the companies planned communications program. That’s just sick.

            1. Man, I don’t know what Wolff did to you but whatever it was, I hope you recover from it one day.

            2. What he did?.. seems very obvious from my comments: intentionally develop negative narratives about competitors to help win what should be a sports competition. On top of that mixing the underdog story in it which is and has been a lie for 8 years straight. He should run an old school company, not a sports team.

            3. Naughty Neutral
              14th March 2022, 20:28

              Yep. And that people didn’t pick up on the whole thing is sad.

              Horner is sometimes a bit stupid and has a big mouth.

              Wolff seems to actually plan his narrative, making it even worse.

              Stupidity isn’t evil, and evil isn’t stupid.

          3. You forgot to open your mind, Emma. It seems to still be closed and blocked by your conspiracy theory.
            Imagine you are the Red Bull team boss for a moment. What do you think you’d say in those circumstances?

            1. If he’d been sensible, S, he’d have noted the matter is still under legal consideration and diverted the subject onto something that doesn’t risk putting him in hot water in court.

            2. In his position as the Red Bull team boss, I would admit that the officiating in that last race was terrible, but remind people that it had been terrible throughout the season. Make a case for “The last race was horrific and we need to improve it radically, but everyone got hit by terrible officiating this year and that doesn’t take away from my driver’s amazing championship victory”.

              It’s the lack of acknowledgement that anything was mishandled at the last race which is so infuriating. By doggedly sticking to “everything was perfectly fine at AD”, he damages his own case, IMHO.

            3. Sounds like you are going on a witch hunt to attack people for all the things they don’t say, @drmouse.
              Horner is allowed to be (too) protective of his team’s achievements – it’s his team….
              Every F1 team puts themselves above F1 as a whole – Red Bull is no different to the rest.

            4. I’m not going on a witch hunt, at all. You asked how I would handle the situation, and I answered.

              I make no secret of the fact that I strongly dislike Horner and the way he operates his team. However, he is of course entitled to speak as he wishes and defend his team in any way he sees fit. However, if you ask me what I would do, I won’t say “oh I’d do the same” when it is not true, and I’m not going to say that I think he is right to refuse to acknowledge any issues with AD when I don’t. I believe it is much more damaging to his team than an admission that mistakes were made would be. To me, it comes across as overcompensating and very insecure, and makes me believe (even more) that he knows it was not right.

              However, again, this is not a witch hunt, and he is perfectly entitled to do whatever he wants in this regard. None of this is even remotely an attack on him, and I don’t think my comment above is even close to such.

        2. Noframingplease (@)
          14th March 2022, 9:52

          @s Absolutely agree. But be realistic Racefans comments are 60% biased on british drivers. No matter what lies mister Wolff is telling, it’s always Horner that is the black sheep. I always wonder how fans here would have reacted when Horner and Wolff had switched in teams. The answer wouldn’t be surprising I think

          1. @nofanboysplease

            For the vast majority. it’s nothing to do with nationality, this is a very tiresome line to take. If it was, Brits would be siding with the British Horner, rather than the ‘evil Austrian’.

            The reason that Horner is receiving criticism is that he gaslights and lies a great deal of the time. He’s unwilling or unable to give any credit to others, Toto and Lewis in particular, to a pathological level.

            He’s certainly giving the impression he is uneasy with Max’s ‘win’. As well he should be.

            1. I agree @paulguitar. This argument makes no sense whatsoever for reasons you have stated. Horner seems to be the one who has insecurities.

            2. Coventry Climax
              14th March 2022, 12:18

              I certainly hope your guitar playing is better than your reasoning.

            3. @Coventry Climax

              Well, let’s hear your point of view. It’s not very satisfactory to dive in with the ad hom if you’re unable or unwilling to provide your own opinion.

            4. Naughty Neutral
              14th March 2022, 20:35

              Wait… What? Most of the con-Verstappen narrative is written by Brits (or written by an Austrian guy and swallowed wholesale by the Brits).

              I bet the Dutch (who are smaller in number, simply because their country is smaller) think the opposite.

              Now, what does the rest of the world think? Frankly, I think the majority of the world wide viewers and readers DOES see all the commenting as being driven by nationality, regardless of who is right and who is wrong.

              And to top that off, I guess the majority will only remember someone smashing his headphone and screaming ‘No Mikey No’.

              Which was great to watch, by the way.

            5. @Naughty Neutral

              Perhaps you’re not quite as ‘neutral’ as you think.

            6. Noframingplease (@)
              16th March 2022, 19:25

              @paulguitar I have a feeling you are in the British bubble. The bubble of world wide journalism about F1 by british ex drivers etc etc. That’s not particular the problem, but this year we saw we saw numerous cases of comments by those same ex drivers which weren’t objective. That’s still not a problem, if you see this bias. It’s clear you don’t see that. And that Wolff is so positive adopted by the brits has a very simple reason. The reason is called Lewis. Lies from Horner? I’m certain that from minimal 1 lie from Horner I can find 2 from Wolff. Wolff is playing the smart game of influencing stakeholders and media. Horner is the simple straightforward talker.

            7. @nofanboysplease

              I am not in the UK.

            8. Noframingplease (@)
              23rd March 2022, 17:43

              @paulguitar Would you like that I explain to you what a ‘bubble’ is, and that there is no need to live in the UK for it? Thanx for ticking all the boxes

            9. @nofanboysplease

              Yes, you will need to explain. Thanks.

    8. Just saw so much of him on DTS and now this. Can’t wait for racing to begin and the jibber jabber to stop.

      This is actually one reason why I support the 23 or 25 race calendars. Less time for Horner and other principals to talk.

      1. Well, but they talk even during the off season!

    9. I completely agree with Horner.
      Mercedes chose not to pit. Period. The rules were the same for everyone, and neither Mercedes or Red Bull followed different rules. Mercedes just ASSumed there wasn’t going to be a restart. Sorry, they thought wrong.

      Its the same as when mother nature dumps rain on a track; some cars spin out before they make it back to the pits, others are in a position to get wet rires before spinning out. Luck of the draw.

      1. Not sure if sarcasm.

        If Mercedes had pitted Max wouldn’t have and taken lead of the race.

        Across the grid, there was only one driver who could afford to pit and not lose track position – that was Max. And he duly pitted.

        Mercedes decision to not pit – irrespective of what Masi did after that – was correct.

        Max won the race (not the championship) due to an unexpected stroke of fortune for which Masi lost his job.

        He won the championship fair and square.

        1. Max won the race (not the championship) due to an unexpected stroke of fortune for which Masi lost his job.

          He won the championship fair and square.

          I’m with you 100% Sumedh.
          Nicely put.

        2. That only works, Sumedh, if you ignore that Max got 12.5 points through the FA wrongly sending out cars at Spa despite not having adequete medical cover (by the regulations the FIA itself set down).

          1. – FIA, obviously.

            1. Noframingplease (@)
              23rd March 2022, 17:39

              @alianora-la-canta Yes, if your opinion is that Max was fault at Silverstone it is not a great surprise that your opinion is that this was the first mistake of the FIA. Very funny that you explain me this.

            2. @nofanboysplease Sumedh apparently needed it explaining…

          2. Noframingplease (@)
            14th March 2022, 9:44

            @alianora-la-canta. Yeah, and you forgot the points Lewis got in 2021 by luck and decisions that same Masi made. When Lewis partner kicked Max out in hungary, lewis ‘did a Lewis’ in Silverstone etc etc.

            1. @nofanboysplease If you’re going to cite luck, you have to remember that luck is very complicated and Lewis also had plenty of bad luck. (Also, you’re talking to someone who thinks Max was predominantly to blame for the Silverstone incident and that this was the first arguable incident of the FIA abusing its power to pre-choose a champion, but that’s another story).

      2. No, Mercedes strategy was right. Even if there was going to be a restart, there should be several cars between Lewis and Max to act as a buffer and letting Lewis build some distance to win the race when it was restarting.

      3. The big question is: If Ham pitted and ended behind up Max…

        Would there have been a restart?

        With the current rules that is unpredictable and can be random. That is unacceptable from a sporting perspective.

        1. I think Mercedes were possibly anticipating a Baku-style red flag, and chose not to pit on that basis. Getting that call wrong had cost them in Jeddah.

        2. @JustSomeone Of course, the race would’ve restarted since Masi’s clear-cut determination was to avoid a neutralized finish at all costs, even though doing anything was unnecessary.
          Pitting was perfectly understandable since no one could’ve anticipated Masi suddenly going against standard procedures, as Craig rightly pointed out.

          1. Of course, the race would’ve restarted

            I don’t think we can be certain of that… Not because of any bias or such, but because of there being very different personalities in play.

            I’ll try to keep this as neutral as possible, although it’s a topic I feel far from neutral about.

            The race was going to end green, but with lapped runners in place, according to the written procedures in the regulations. Red Bull, specifically Wheatley, applied pressure in a particular way, which caused Masi to change his mind, use powers he has denied having in the past, and “creatively apply the rules” in a way which restarted the race with Max directly behind Lewis.

            Had Merc have pitted Lewis, it would have been Merc applying the pressure to restart without lapped runners. Would they have taken the same approach? Would they have been as convincing? Would the fact that Merc had voluntarily surrendered the lead have played a part?

            So no, I don’t think it is nailed on that Masi would have come to the same decision had Merc pitted. There were far too many things in play. In fact, I’d say that had Wheatley used even slightly different words or a slightly different tone of voice, or had a fly buzzed in Masi’s ear at the wrong time, a completely different decision could have been made.

      4. Tell me, how do you strategise around the idea of the race director changing the rules upon which those strategies are made? The ‘Mercedes’ got the strategy wrong’ argument is beyond laughable, especially seeing as Mercedes did the right thing which only became ‘wrong’ after they made the decision.
        You know what would have been wrong? Pitting and giving up the lead while under the safety car when the rules indicate it’s unlikely to come in before the race ends.

        1. When the crash happened, Mercedes had a choice, to pit Hamilton or not. This decision had to be taken BEFORE Hamilton passed the pit entrance. So in effect they had less the two minutes to make the call. No time for in depth anaylisis over how long it would take to clear the crash – it was a gut feel call. It was a gamble – it looked like it was about to pay off, but it didn’t – there was no way when they made the call they knew exactly the length/time the safety car would be out for.

          1. there was no way when they made the call they knew exactly the length/time the safety car would be out for.

            This right here. Could have been 5 laps, could have been 2.
            Add to that the preexisting agreement to preferentially finish under green.
            This scenario has restart written all over it.

            And really, Hamilton pitting late and falling behind Verstappen (who would have been on older tyres if not pitting as well) wouldn’t have been the end of the world anyway, as Mercedes had superior car pace.
            Regardless of the calls from Race Control, Mercedes played their strategy so poorly that they did themselves out of the win.

            1. Except that given what we have since learned, pitting would only have led to Race Control keeping the Safety Car out or using one of the defined processes in the regulations (both of which gave a substantial advantage to whoever had track position). Strategically, Mercedes did the best decision available – it was only Race Control deliberately breaking the regulations that led to anyone questioning it.

            2. The magical “preexisting agreement” is completely irrelevant and I wish you’d stop bringing it up. No team agreed to rules being broken to force a green flag finish, especially when there was an option to do so within the rules (restart without letting lapped cars overtake).

            3. @alianora-la-canta

              How did we learn that? This just seems to be the conspiracy theory we’ve heard from a few people.

            4. Except that given what we have since learned

              Where can I learn that, @alianora-la-canta. I’d love to hear it as evidence and proof rather than suggestion and rumour.
              F1 is famous more for its unsubstantiated rumours than anything else…

            5. Craig – I keep bringing it up because it’s 100% relevant.
              If there were no agreement to prioritise green finishes, there would almost certainly have been a SC finish.
              When the teams are agreeing to these things, it’s because they want them to happen – and they’re bound to happen in circumstances or manner that somebody doesn’t want them to.
              Mercedes failed to cover off that scenario. Simple as that.

              Ask yourself why the teams agreed to it…
              Exciting/unpredictable/controversial finishes bring eyeballs, and eyeballs bring money. Lots of it.
              Here we all are, 4 months later, still talking about it….

            6. Add to that the preexisting agreement to preferentially finish under green.
              This scenario has restart written all over it.

              True enough, and had the rules been followed correctly (no, I don’t accept that 15.3 should ever have been interpreted that way) and this had happened, then this would have been a Mercedes strategic error. As things stand, the situation which arose was one of the few where Merc’s decision should have played out as a win by the rulebook.

              They were just about to hit a Royal Flush on the River, everyone had seen the King he was turning over, but Masi suddenly dropped the deck, and when he picked them all up again the next card wasn’t that King.

          2. You do actually have legacy data to make a good estimate on how long an incident would take to clean up and for the safety car procedure to finish. In that situation you have absolutely no reason to give up track position, so Mercedes did the entirely right thing (I mean why would Red Bull pit Vestappen if Mercedes pitted Hamilton? That would have given him the lead of the race in a situation where a restart was not going to happen). It was no gamble in any way, shape or form and only became “wrong” when Masi started meddling.

        2. You are wrong… Standard procedure would have been to let lapped cars through. So Hamilton would have lost in the standard scenario. Mercedes gambled that the race would not restart and they gambled wrong. And if (some of the) the lapped cars hadn’t been allowed to unlap Max would have passed Hamilton with new tyres and blue flags… So still a bad call from Mercedes.

          Did Masi do everything right? No. Was it messy? Yes. Did they manipulate to have Max win? No. They wanted the race to end as a race and no a parade and Mercedes lost by gambling on a Sc- finish.

          1. Standard procedure would have seen the race finish under safety car as there wasn’t time to let the lapped cars overtake and then allow the required additional lap. There was no gamble, what Mercedes did was correct as the race should have finished under the safety car so why should they risk giving up track position (after all, why would Red Bull pit if Mercedes did in that situation?)
            Less standard procedure, restarting without letting the lapped cars unlap themselves, would likely have seen Hamilton win still but would have given Vestappen a chance that wouldn’t have been argued against.
            But we didn’t get any form of standard procedure, we got a farce that disadvantaged the majority of the grid to give one driver an unassailable advantage. Whether it was entirely deliberate to fix the result is still debatable, but to claim “Mercedes gambled and lost” implies rules were followed but you can’t stratergise around the rules being changed after you make a decision, so the ‘wrong strategic call’ argument doesn’t hold any water.

            1. No standard procedure would have been to let all lapped cars through as soon as it was safe to do so. With a number of laps to go it could have been done just not near the accident site. And then there would have been basically the same situation as we got now: Max with new tyres and Lewis with very old ones and a lap or couple of laps to resume racing… And identical result. MB gambled wrong and they lost, all the rest of the argumentation is just b-hurt fans and team members trying to claim they were robbed. They were not even though mistakes were made and it looked ugly.

      5. Mercedes just ASSumed there wasn’t going to be a restart.

        Head the roles been followed the same way as they have at every other Grand Prix since the unlapping rules were brought in, there wouldn’t have been, and had the other written and precedented option been followed there would have been several back markers between them and there would have been a good chance for Lewis. This was actually one of the few cases where Mercedes’ decision was actually the right one, or would have been had Masi not made up something new and unprecedented which removed any realistic chance of Hamilton winning. It’s like Mercedes bet everything on red in roulette, only for it to come up red 16, then for Masi to suddenly say that only 36 would count as red for this spin.

        1. “It’s like Mercedes bet everything on red in roulette, only for it to come up red 16, then for Masi to suddenly say that only 36 would count as red for this spin.”
          Or for Masi to insist Red is now Crimson and as they said ‘red’ it doesn’t count.

    10. Neil (@neilosjames)
      14th March 2022, 6:10

      Bored of Horner already and the season hasn’t even started… much as I appreciate a free and open internet, it’d be nice if someone could create a tool to censor out every single word he says from now until November 20th.

      1. Wow, that would be a dream scenario if you throw in Wolff as well. Liberty, I would pay triple whatever the fee is for watching your circus, if you can make that happen. Seriously, more revenue when you blur out these two clowns. I bet more sponsoring will come too. I can not imagine how as a brand you would like to be in the same arena as these jokers.

    11. Daily Mail should be a banned source @keithcollantine honestly.

      1. I agree. All they publish is poison

      2. That seems wise. It would be wise for Christian to treat them as a banned source also.

      3. Yeah, you are really uncomfortable Daily Mail don’t censor as much as the others, don’t you?

    12. Tabloid ‘journalists’ and the news outlets they work for will drag this out until the cows come home. Horner if he wanted to stop the ongoing saga, could easily sidestep or just say it’s over we are looking to the 2022 season and beyond.
      I notice most of the posts above are critical of Horners comments and ongoing whining and sniping at others. Think how hard it must be dealing with him on a daily basis. It’s a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of the rest of the team that they can work in such an environment.

      1. @johnrkh The OTT criticism of Horner’s comments from multiple unregistered accounts is part of the Mercedes strategy he alludes to. Same on Twitter with the enormous army of sockpuppets. Not all of them will be directly Mercedes-affiliated, but enough to start a trend going.

        1. @red-andy I assume this is sarcasm, given that registration does precisely nothing to establish anyone’s credentials, only that they registered with an email address.

        2. Noframingplease (@)
          14th March 2022, 10:02

          @Red Andy Continue framing your competitors in a bad way. Not directly, always indirect so that the seeds are planted in the minds. That the game MB is playing. ‘It seems that Honda has a partymode’, ‘oh Max is such an aggressive driver’, ‘when you are older you make other decisions’, ‘that guy’ (first years when Lewis called Max), ‘when I was that age’ etc etc

          1. Naughty Neutral
            14th March 2022, 20:40

            Agree. Some people seem to think respect is another word for ‘calling the kettle black’.

      2. @red-andy So you’re suggesting the involvement of Mercedes or a group affiliated with Mercedes have started a disinformation campaign on this site to discredit Horner. This in turn has resulted in a ‘pile on’ on Twitter.
        OK, I know this type of thing happens, it is very common in the political realm. The seeds are planted by mostly a detached entity to ensure plausible deniability then let the hardline supporters do the rest. This is done to bring down governments
        The fall out and backlash it would cause against Mercedes if caught would be horrendous. I’m not sure that’s a risk they would be willing to take just to niggle team Principal.

      3. I can only lower myself by also repeating my comment above regarding the repetitive journalism.

        Tabloid ‘journalists’ and the news outlets they work for will drag this out until the cows come home.

        Same as any site headlining the ‘deja vu all over again’ rhetoric, and the commenters repeating their dug-in statements.

        There is so much interesting (technical) stuff to be shared and discussed with these new cars. We’re actively lowering ourselves to another tabloid.

      4. @johnrkh “Think how hard it must be dealing with him on a daily basis. It’s a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of the rest of the team that they can work in such an environment.” Since I for one have not heard a peep about any hardship at RBR and dealing with CH, I would suggest it is more the likes of you and as you point out “Tabloid ‘journalists’…” who are the ones spinning this yarn.

        By all accounts it would seem CH and RBR are a great team to work for and with, and they insist on being a family and having fun while they put their noses to the grindstone too. I think the very tabloid journalists you mock have you misunderstanding CH and I guess that is them doing their job then. Do you actually think CH, who isn’t continually banging on about this but some media make it seem so, would be impervious to this kind of ‘journalism’ if he said something like ‘no comment, let’s move on to 2022?’ If he said that the next headline you’d see from them would be something to the effect “Horner Can No Longer Defend RBR’s WDC…desperately needs to move on from under black cloud that continues to linger” Lol.

    13. Strange how Horner said Mercedes made a mistake not putting under VSC, but yet during the race said Red Bull needed a “miracle” after the VSC period.

      Plus, putting after the Latifi crash would have put Lewis behind Max but with Max on tyres only a few laps old (with him having pitted under VSC), so I’m not sure they made a mistake there either.

      1. What do you mean? Why is it weird that Red Bull acknowledges that Mercedes had the outright pace and they couldn’t overtake them on pure pace alone?

        Yes, they needed a Safety Car “miracle” to get in the position to win. That doesn’t change that Mercedes took a risk by prioritising track position over pitting. That would have reversed the roles, sure, but Lewis would have been champ if they did. It was a coin toss, nothing more, and Mercedes was unlucky they chose the wrong side.

        1. To clarify, I mean that Horner says Mercedes made a tactical mistake not pitting under VSC. However, if there was no Latifi crash then Lewis would have won the race comfortably. Therefore there was no mistake not pitting Lewis under VSC. That’s the strange bit. But I’m starting to think that’s a mistake in the article rather than Horner’s opinion. Hope so anyway.

          The decision to pit Lewis or not under the safety car was pretty much a coin toss. Pitting him would have put him behind Max with a possible red flag, or non restart, or a restart with cars in between – all of which would have likely meant defeat. Or a restart with no cars in between but not a huge difference in tyre age and maybe 1 lap to get past Max. Which would probably have been 50/50 that Lewis got by cleanly to win. A tough call, but on the balance of probabilities leaving him out was probably the correct one.

          That’s my analysis and I’m an armchair fan. So either I’m wrong (very possible!) or Horner is being disingenuous about what Mercedes could or should have done. Probably to deflect from the issues with race control’s actions. Which is also very possible!

    14. Not only that. At the start of the season they already intentionally went after him. One of the most unsporty teams in F1 history imho

      1. At what point did the rules start getting broken? I’m aware of Spa and Abu Dhabi, but if there were earlier ones as well, it would explain a lot.

        1. Bahrain’s track limits, perhaps?

    15. And that’s why it is so funny when Wolff starts crying about Wheatley. Because the only thing Wolff is crying about is his own ineptitude in influencing Masi.

    16. Perhaps, while the result mightn’t have got influenced for entertainment’s sake, things generally did.

      Good that a single season away allowed K-Mag not to feel like he’d been away.

      Being #1 shouldn’t be a burden anyway.

      Nice notes from GT7.

      A testing program doesn’t give SL points.
      FP1 running does, one per session, but testing doesn’t AFAIA unless something has changed.
      However, he’ll definitely reach the remaining points by 2024.

    17. The agreement to finish races under green flags is absolutely crucial to this debate, and as I have said before I think it is an utterly ridiculous agreement and its scrapping should have been the first priority after the conclusion of Abu Dhabi. However, at the time, it was in place, but we don’t know how much weight it held. I don’t believe it was ever actually official, so the teams didn’t know how much Masi was going to abide by it. I believe Masi thought the car would have been cleared and the race restarted in time anyway, but perhaps Mercedes believed that that wouldn’t be the case, so they left Hamilton out because they believed the race would finish under safety car and Hamilton would win. However, if Masi wanted to honour the agreement, there were two legal options he could have chosen to do so. The first would be to throw a red flag, in which case there would have been another standing start with Hamilton ahead of Verstappen on the grid, both on new tyres, and the second option would be to restart the race with all lapped cars in play. I would have been unhappy with either option, but it is important to note that in both situations Hamilton would still have the advantage, so Mercedes would have made the right call (although in the latter he would probably have the advantage either way). The only way that Mercedes strategy could backfire would be if there had been time to restart the race, and they were correct that there wasn’t. However, the reason they lost was because the rules were broken to allow for the restart to happen, and I think it is not reasonable for the teams to expect this unofficial agreement to take priorities over the actual rulebook.
      I think in any situation where the rules were applied correctly, leaving Hamilton out would have given him the advantage in that race. Mercedes made absolutely the right strategy, in both the VSC (as Hamilton’s lead was six seconds when Verstappen pitted and twelve when the final safety car came out), and in the final safety car, and their strategy only became wrong because Masi broke the rules. But what is absolutely clear is that the unofficial agreement was the cause of the entire mess and needs to be scrapped immediately.

      1. Mercedes made absolutely the right strategy… and their strategy only became wrong because Masi broke the rules.

        Exactly

      2. @f1frog Just as a very general comment without trying to make it about what happened at AD, I think it would have been hugely disappointing for that contentious season to have ended behind a safety car. Personally I think most of us have a fair amount of patience during the season if a race has to end in an anti-climactic way behind the safety car. But for a season finale? Any season finale? But especially the ones deciding the Championships? Personally I wouldn’t mind a rule specifically just for the last race of seasons, that makes an exception and brings out a red flag for a late race crash ala Latifi’s, cars go back to the pits in their existing order, no work is done on the cars nor tires changed, and then they go back out and finish the season under green with a rolling restart (not that I have anything against standing re-starts most of the time).

        1. Personally I wouldn’t mind a rule specifically just for the last race of seasons

          Personally, I wouldn’t mind that either, as long as it is in the rules rather than made up on the spot. That’s the biggest issue here, to me: making up something brand new and unforeseen, especially in a way which favours one particular driver over all the others, and even more so when there existed a known, written and precedented solution in the rulebook to honour even the unofficial agreements.

    18. I guess Horner knows what’s about to be published and is trying to get ahead of it. We all know this was gifted to Max. He’s a worthy Champion for his driving throughout the year, but let’s not lie to ourselves. Masi had the power to crown either driver with his actions that day and he went with Max. Conscious decision or not the rules weren’t followed correctly and he rightly lost his job. Had he followed the rules Hamilton would be champion and RedBull would be asking for him to be sacked for not restarting or moaning about lapped cars. It’s real primary school junk that has no place in F1.Shame the season had to end that way.

      1. Had he followed the rules Hamilton would be champion and RedBull would be asking for him to be sacked for not restarting or moaning about lapped cars.

        It’s interesting how “Michael Masi is thrown under the bus” according to RB after he lost his job, while the same team “missed Charlie Whiting” after the same race director didn’t act to their liking.
        https://www.racefans.net/2022/02/24/ousted-f1-race-director-masi-was-thrown-under-the-bus-says-verstappen/
        https://www.racefans.net/2021/12/05/f1-missed-charlie-whiting-today-says-horner-after-chaotic-race/

      2. Naughty Neutral
        14th March 2022, 20:44

        Do not assume to speak for others. I strongly disagree with ‘we know all’.

        No. We don’t all know. Many of us disagree with you.

        ‘We all know the British fans will never let this rest because they are biased’ has exactly the same value.

    19. Horner versus Wolff… gotta love the animosity. They both add great panache and character to the Championship battle as they are both obviously passionate about their team. They are polarising figures, yes, but it is fun to watch. I am hoping for a sequel this year. Shots have been fired already before either of their drivers have turned a wheel yet :D

    20. The FIA’s rule-breaking conduct at Spa and Abu Dhabi (without which Lewis would have been champion) already fully discredited Max’s claim to the championship, regardless of what Mercedes had done afterwards. Yes, Mercedes has talked about it a lot, but the legitimacy of a title stands or falls on whether the rules of a sport were followed. The governing body repeatedly failed in significant, objective and dangerous ways.

      This is why the FIA’s still in legal trouble about this situation – and may explain why Christian continues to feel the need to defend his driver’s silverware (after all, the actual reason Max shouldn’t be holding it is not because of his own actions).

      1. @alianora-la-canta
        What about the “freestyle” interpretation of the track limits in lap 1 which allowed Hamilton to be in a championship winning position in the first place. Remember RBR throwed everything they have in that race on track position that Hamilton gained illegally by simply cutting the corner.

        Masi and the stewards were a joke last year and both RBR and Mercedes benefited from their incompetence. Though some people are just choosing to ignore that fact and parrot the narrative made by the Mercedes PR machine. Max Verstappen was the superior driver despite some questionable over the limit manoeuvres (Brazil and Saudi Arabia).

      2. Yes, Mercedes has talked about it a lot

        Actually, for a team that was robbed like that, they haven’t talked about it that much. Most of the outrage has been from fans of the sport who know a robbery when they see one. Just imagine for a moment if it were Red Bull in their shoes – how much would we have heard from Horner, Marko and Jos?

        1. Yes but this is the team that blamed Ham for controlling the media over the break by not actually being engaged with the media.

          On a lighter note, I see Hamilton predicted the cars porpoising long before anyone else had even thought it might be a problem. Surely this should be the story?

          https://twitter.com/SirLewisUpdates/status/1502295553102979074

        2. Probably about the same, and the same arguments against would have been used also. Everybody is neck-deep in the trenches and every argument has been made a 1,000 times, so it’s about time they get racing again.

      3. @alianora-la-canta “Christian continues to feel the need to defend his driver’s silverware…” I’m not convinced that is the case, but rather that some media continue to try to make it seem like CH is banging on about this on the daily, by trying to make old quotes sound new. After all, is anyone really still challenging anyone at RBR as to whether or not Max is the WDC? He is, and everyone knows it, so I’m just not convinced CH is the one continuing to defend anything, unless of course he is asked the same questions over and over again by a desperate-for-a-story media entity, when those questions have already been asked and answered.

    21. Whinger Spice.
      Asterix forever!

      1. I was just gonna say Whinger Spice is singing the greatest hits. I recall Silverstone and Red Bull’s “concerted campaign to discredit” Hamilton then. Even calling for a race ban. Don’t dish it if you can’t take it in return.

    22. The sad part is with petty comments like this Horner just keeps this in the media longer. I think Mercedes have been comparatively very quiet on the issue and had every right to push for clarification on the rules given as we now know they were clearly not followed. I think it’s ridiculous that in a sport as expensive as F1 you would expect a competitor to just accept what happened in Abu Dhabi without any complaint.

      I think it was naughty for Hamilton not to attend the prize ceremony given the contractual obligations but the people to blame for inaction there is the FIA, they could have fined Hamilton for not attending. The only concerted campaign I’ve seen is from Horner trying desperately to rewrite the history books and hide the shame of their “win”. I feel sorry for Verstappen that he’s surrounded by such negative entities, mind you they’ve agreed to pay him 40m per year so I’m sure he’s happy enough with them.

      1. The sad part is with petty comments like this Horner just keeps this in the media longer.

        It’s not just Horner repeating these comments (who reads the Daily Mail?), but more so sites like this quoting, and even headlining, these stories.
        I can only see repetitive dug-in positions by commenters. Many as expected; but even some, who I used to respect due to their technical contributions, have now lowered themselves to this never ending shouting match.

        1. For the good of the sport it needed to be formally acknowledged that what happened last year was wrong and changes would be made for the future.

          I do wish everyone involved would just refuse to talk about it anymore, admit mistakes were made, changes are happening to prevent it in future and reinforce that neither drivers or the teams involved did anything wrong. Obviously the radio calls were not ideal but at the end of the day Masi could have ignored them.

          The irony is that a majority on both sides of this polarising argument who were fans of the 2 drivers, would each probably share the others opinion had it been there driver that benefitted. I think the added complexity is the subset of fans who just enjoyed the added drama and then those that were angry at the lack of fairest and adherence to the rules which is key to sports. Ultimately we should be hoping to make sure that this doesn’t happen to the sport we love again in future thus dividing the fans in such a toxic manner. We want a close and fair championship battle and several times last year that didn’t happen.

          1. I do wish everyone involved would just refuse to talk about it anymore, admit mistakes were made

            Those last four words are still a condition :P
            It’s a bit like Russia willing to stop the war as long as Ukraine formally hands them the Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

            I wonder if one single commenter has changed his/her position over this since it happened. Show of hands please!
            And (continuing my pet peeve) this site has lost some of its luster by repeating to bring up this issue just to get the same comments over and over again.

            1. Well if the FIA can admit mistakes were made…. :-D

              I know from my initial anger over the situation I’ve now accepted it was just a huge mess with no particular agenda or malice intended towards any of the participants. I don’t believe Masi was trying to “gift” the title to Verstappen I think he just made numerous poor decisions while under pressure which wasn’t needed if he’d just kept to the written rules. I’ve not changed my position just accepted the reality of the situation moving forward and how continuing the same argument forever is not going to make any difference.

              I was actually satisfied that Masi had finally gone because he’d lost all control much earlier and made numerous questionable decisions over the last 2 years. The mistakes of course would be fine if he’d ever have accepted he’d actually made any but he never did and that ultimately became his downfall imo.

          2. @slowmo

            For the good of the sport it needed to be formally acknowledged that what happened last year was wrong

            But this hasn’t happened. The FIA are making changes, but haven’t even officially admitted mistakes were made, and I don’t believe they ever will.

    23. I just watched first few episodes of drive to survive and it shows how obsessed Horner is of Mercedes Toto and Lewis. Its as tho he doesnt want to win the championship but rather to beat them. He probably calls out their names in his sleep.

      1. You mean of course DTS has been crafted to make it seem as though Horner is obsessed?

    24. No doubt about it, Mercedes is the worst team.

      1. That’s a bit of a stretch, certainly looking at a broader time frame in Formula 1 there are “worse teams”. I put Red Bull and Mercedes on par in this generation.

        1. There are several teams in F1 now that wouldn’t have survived without the help of Mercedes over the last decade. Just think about that when you talk about how bad they are for the sport. Where as Red Bull conspired to try and drive Renault from the sport with their constant criticism of their brand and have signed up lots of young driving talent to deny rivals that they know full well they’ll drop as soon as they don’t deliver the expected results. What exactly are the great ills of Mercedes, they won too much?

          1. That is a fair assessment. I’m not sure about the “survived” portion however… it’s clear to me that Red Bull are still miffed that Mercedes refused to provide them power units after they smeared Renault with mud. And to your point, yes it would seem people are frustrated with the amount of wins Mercedes has, or with their drivers (well, one of their drivers in particular who seems those which deep seeded racial points of view will never accept as a worthy human being let alone worthy champion.)
            I’m personally sick of the politics and childishness from both teams, yes Red Bull are the ones being more vocal currently but neither side is innocent.

    25. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      14th March 2022, 11:35

      Horner has discredited it more than anyone else has. It’s almost as if deep down he knows that they didn’t really win it.

      1. No way he thinks that given silverstone etc.

    26. Why all these?
      – CH thought FIA threw Masi under the bus etc. CH, don’t just say or think it. Do more than that for Masi. Give him a job. Worked very hard to restore his reputation. Employ counsellors to soothe his hurt pride/ego etc.
      – Max claimed treatment of Masi wasn’t fair. Masi confirmed Max had sent supportive message. Surely Max can do more than that too? Offering free flights home would certainly help. Well, it had in 2021 result. Ongoing onslaught via media, accusing others of ill-treatment of Masi just demonstrated RB’s desperation to alter the already formed narrative about the championship they said they won by merit. Note that not many other teams, if any, who were concerned about Masi’s fate. RB wants people to believe they are full of hearts. If so, stop talking. Show Masi how much love you have for him. Then tell us all about it.

      To RB and Max’s fans: Believe in yourself that this Masi-Assisted-Champion won not by luck, not by being helped, not by cheating several times, not by using illegal lunges, and not driving the fastest car. Some even got angry by the tagline media used …”controversial decision…”. Continuous protestation does not add anything. Continually saying Max is the best or by putting others down just confirmed you are not convinced yourself.

      By the way, every year, someone at some point will point finger that Merc and Lewis “play mind game”. The season proper hasn’t started. In case, anyone forgets, so far, Helmut, Max, Horner, have started very early with this so called “mind game”. Often these mind game inputs by RB are conveniently forgotten.

      Helmut said Lewis cannot go on like this. Max said Lewis isn’t the one to beat this year. Horner thought it’s important to point Lewis once wanted to be in RB, that they won because Merc failed in their strategy. Why all these if RB is very proud of their champion? Proud of the ways they conducted themselves? Surely, all the bonuses received Wheeler, Max, Horner are enough the convince yourselves you are champions?

    27. Wolff saying Mercedes dropped their appeal as they felt it would go on forever and be damaging to the sport is ridiculous. If he and Mercedes truly believed they’d been ‘robbed’ and was genuinely treated unfairly they should have continued on – and would have done, and they’d be right to! If the championship had truly been ‘manipulated’ then it deserved to drag on forever until the truth was out.

      However, they didn’t because their case was fragile at best and had a strong possibility of a costly failure – if they were 100% right, they’d have 100% won in a court. Do you all seriously believe Mercedes & Hamilton are okay to give up a ‘robbed’ title for ‘the good of the sport?’ of course not, that’s madness! Horner’s belief that the way Mercedes conducted themselves after the event passively protested the legitimacy of the title is arguably true, because they couldn’t do it legally and now in the court of opinion we have armies of people on the internet, let alone ‘pundits’ delegitimizing the title for them. You see that on every F1 post, every Red Bull post – almost to the point of harrassment and it’s disturbing. After all why question it when ‘almost everyone knows the title was gifted to Max’ right?

      1. However, they didn’t because their case was fragile at best and had a strong possibility of a costly failure – if they were 100% right, they’d have 100% won in a court

        Had you considered that even though the case was 100% winnable, the normal rear-end covering and sweeping under the carpet actions of the FIA (where’s the full report on the Ferrari engine cheating?) would have them legally acknowledge that there was “a small mistake that affected the outcome of one race” so we will nullify the result. Legal people all accept that and the result is the guy that had more wins prior to the “mistake” is given the title.
        So, leave it be and let a known paper crown be awarded…

        We can but hope Max drives more sensibly, to avoid critics, and wins the crown by unarguable means. Newey looks to be doing something different to the rest, so possible this year.

        If you want to know “different”, have a look at the video of the “wet” testing day in Barcelona – the spray shows vortices alongside and a raised plume behind coming off the rear wing, but flow alongside and a smoke trail style spray off the rear of the Red Bull.

      2. Mercedes were only robbed of 1 place in Abu Dhabi, not robbed the championship like lots of Hamilton fans like to make out. Lewis had the Lion’s share of luck with regards to his battle with Max up until that point. The longer time goes on, hopefully everyone can look at the season as a whole again and realise that it was indeed Max who was nearly robbed of the championship.

        1. Absolutely, I will never tire to repeat this: let’s give hamilton the deserved abu dhabi win, and verstappen baku with hamilton 3rd as it was and the result is the same.

          If people aren’t convinced, silverstone and hungary are waiting too.

          1. Hamilton fans know it. They just don’t want to know it.

      3. if they were 100% right, they’d have 100% won in a court. Do you all seriously believe Mercedes & Hamilton are okay to give up a ‘robbed’ title for ‘the good of the sport?’ of course not, that’s madness!

        As I wrote above, just having a strong chance of winning a case doesn’t always make it worthwhile to continue. If you take someone to court over an unpaid debt, but they don’t have the money and would end up on a payment plan for a tiny monthly amount, it isn’t worth it.

        In this case, Merc had a good chance of winning the case, but the most likely outcome of that was a nullification of the race result, which would gain them nothing. That’s not worth anyone’s time or money.

    28. The Horner doth protest too much!

      Anyway, all it takes is an asterisk.

      2021 F1 Champion – Max Verstappen*

      1. * Championship won in equal/lesser machinery.

        Doesn’t happen often but Max did it last year.

        1. The Dolphins
          15th March 2022, 4:15

          The 2021 Red Bull was the dominant car, only since Silverstone were the cars maybe evenly matched but even on some tracks where Mercedes was expected to be dominant, like Austin, Red Bull still was the car to beat.

          1. Austin was purely down to RB strategy, another lap or two and Lewis would likely have won. It also took Max until Monaco to lead the championship. Baku, Austria and Mexico the RB was stronger in my opinion.

      2. Naughty Neutral
        14th March 2022, 20:50

        * without cheating

    29. I am mainly surprised the board of Daimler Mercedes Benz did not put pressure to have Wolff removed. Or maybe they did, but it wasn’t successful? I can’t imagine brand preference has gone up last year and I do know this game costs quite some money.

      1. You are mainly surprised by the consistent message you read here and elsewhere of lack of recognition of Max as a deserved champion. Moreover you are rather disappointed by the continuous question over Mas as a deserved champion, no matter how strong his protestation of not caring. RB appeared to be aware of this. Hence the continuous effort to plead for Max not to be discredited. Oh yes, money does talk. And bonuses at RB must have been in large sums to those who assisted Max to be champion.

        1. I am not surprised about some small group of UK people not being able to deal with reality, propaganda has to work on some, thats what keeps it alive. I am talking about the board of Daimler.

    30. The PitStop Boys have released the song Let’s go Lando dedicated to Lando Norris which is fantastic !
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp4CZQsmhhE

    31. Whiny Horner and his paper champ.

    32. It discredited by default.
      Thats the michael masi tv drama trophy.

    33. In a way Iam hoping Merc aren’t the ones challenging RB as we will get to see Horner releasing all he’s greatest hits again against another team….

    34. They failed, all of them at Mercedes. Hamilton even changes his name in shame. Sir is gone.

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