Christian Horner, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Teams’ discussions with F1 race director should be broadcast – Horner

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Discussions between the FIA Formula 1 race director and teams should be broadcast on television, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said, following criticism over the role they played in the outcome of last year’s world championship.

F1 began broadcasting communications involving the race director for the first time last year. It captured the dramatic conclusion to the season in Abu Dhabi, where both Red Bull and Mercedes lobbied former race director Michael Masi over his handling of a Safety Car period at the end of the race.

Horner believes F1 team principals should be prevented from speaking to the race director in the same way in future, but says some communication between the parties needs to continue.

“I think the team manager certainly should retain that ability to speak to race control,” he told Sky on Friday. “Getting the team principals off is, I think, probably a good thing because it does keep the dialogue just between, the team managers and the organisers.”

He also wants the broadcasting of the messages to continue. “I think it’s important that still broadcast because I think it’s important to know and understand what is being transmitted between the pit wall and race control,” he said.

The FIA published its report on the Abu Dhabi controversy yesterday. It stated “the respective communications to the race director by the Red Bull Racing and Mercedes team principals during the final laps of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP had a negative impact on the smooth running of the final laps because they were distracting when the race director needed to focus on making difficult and time-pressured decisions.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said teams will still be allowed to communicate with race direction in the event of any emergencies.

“I think it was used as entertainment for the fans, but actually it has its downside,” he said. “And then the race director and the whole race control was just bombarded by unnecessary [messages] and everybody was complaining.

“That was putting, I don’t think, pressure, but I think stress on the race director there. So now none of this. If there is any emergency need for radio control, then they press a button, then it will go through.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Teams’ discussions with F1 race director should be broadcast – Horner”

  1. What might work is if there was an intermediary between the pit walls and the race director. If it was deemed important, the message would be passed upstream, if not simply ignored.

    1. Or a technical foul where the Race Director can report to the stewards when a team radios him about something which is not an emergency. The penalty would need to be a combination of constructors points and a financial penalty.

    2. The teams were always able to discuss things with the race director and they should maintain an ability to do so, it went sideways once they started broadcasting them because the teams saw an opportunity to use the broadcast element to sway the director and/or the public opinion their way. It’s my biggest gripe with how Abu Dhabi went.

      And then again, didn’t Horner himself say last month that broadcasting team-race director radios was probably the wrong move and that it shouldn’t happen anymore going forward? Is Horner just saying whatever suits his and his team’s daily narrative or am i misremembering stuff?

  2. “Discussions between the FIA Formula 1 race director and teams should be broadcast”

    Should be forbidden – way too much whining.
    Remarks to race direction should be in the form of simple written templates.

    1. Completely disagree. For the sake of transparency these talks should be public. When Masi pushed for this I facepalmed because I thought it was going to make Masi look incompetent. We know what teams say we just don’t know what race direction does after these talks.

  3. Agree (the important ones), what’s the point on hiding them?

  4. Yeah, if there’s gonna be back and forth communication, it should be broadcasted. Why would you hide it? Let everyone know what’s being said…

    Hiding it would only make it less transparent.

    1. I don’t think it’s right for there to be free flowing general conversation broadcast from the teams during the race. If they want an investigation sure, they should ask for it, but the lobbying and agenda setting has to stop. There should be no opportunity to complain about a decision or influence decisions.

      Ofcourse Horner wants it to be broadcast, the pressure they put the race director on publicly won them the championship. Red Bull were 100% setting the agenda by telling Masi the race shouldn’t end under yellow.

    2. @fer-no65 you could ask Wheatley about that, as he has stated that he wants Liberty Media to stop broadcasting messages so he could lobby the race director in private.

  5. ‘Discussions.’ OK. As long as its not the dubious offering and bartering we heard between Masi and Red Bull.

    1. All discussions should be public.
      Not trying to I fluence the RD outside the public eye.
      (as by sending personal emails)

  6. I’m with Horner on this one: the lobbying should be made public.

  7. This has predictably gone the same way as the televised drivers’ briefings with Charlie Whiting done in 2017 / 2018.

    I think not broadcasting makes sense. The intent, honesty, transparency of the participants – team personnel, drivers – is inevitably compromised knowing that the exchange is getting televised. Instead of seeking genuine clarifications, the particiapnts are catering to their fans and trying to sway the public opinion.

    May be they should make it public after the race, that way we have transparency but not direct pressure on race director.

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