‘Everybody got Covid’ at Red Bull’s 2021 title celebrations

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In the round-up: The 2021 season ended on a high for Red Bull, but their title celebrations meant “Christmas was a write-off” for many on the team.

In brief

Horner reveals Covid-19 swept Red Bull at end of 2021

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed the effect the celebrations of Max Verstappen’s 2021 world championship win had on the team at the end of the pandemic-affected season.

Verstappen clinched the title in a bitterly disputed finale at Yas Marina, in which race director Michael Masi broke the regulations in arranging a final lap restart without permitting all lapped cars to rejoin the lead lap. “Obviously 2021 was contentious, but the team did nothing wrong,” Horner told the Extraordinary Tales podcast

“To win that world championship for the first time after seven long years is a hell of achievement. And I didn’t want that to be diminished by any of the noise that was going on. You can be incredibly proud, but it’s not just about one race, it’s about a nine-month championship and fight that has its ebbs and flows over the course of the season.

“So it was incredibly important as a team to go out and celebrate success and enjoy the success. So that night we did exactly that, and we celebrated the success that we’d had. And of course, you hadn’t been able to do that through [the pandemic]. So it was the first time we could literally get everybody together, have a drink, celebrate, and of course everybody then got bloody Covid-19 after the party and Christmas was a write-off.”

Marko calls out FIA shortening DRS zones this year

Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko has suggested the FIA has shortened DRS zones at some races in a bid to slow down Red Bull.

“If the DRS zone is shortened you know why,” he told Motorsport Magazin. “One must stop intervening in such a manipulative way,” he added.

“It’s astonishing Mercedes is upset – they had such a superior engine for years and were much further ahead than we are now,” Marko added. “If you deliver a flop with the car two years in a row, you should concentrate on that.”

Red Bull finished first and second in the race led by Max Verstappen, who overtook a succession of drivers early in the race having started ninth on the grid. The FIA announced before the season began it would alter the DRS zones at the first five venues “in order to either facilitate overtaking, or make it harder in certain circuits where it was deemed not to be enough of a challenge.”

Former F1 race to run for F4 cars

Tsunoda took a win at Pau in 2019
The Pau Grand Prix, which was held as a non-championship Formula 1 race on 13 occasions between 1947 and 1963, will be part of the French Formula 4 championship this year.

This weekend’s running marks the first time the grand prix has been awarded to an entry-level single-seater category, with the race running for second tier cars from 1964 to 1998 and then becoming a staple of the global Formula 3 calendar.

The Covid-19 pandemic meant the event was not run in 2020 and ’21, and it returned last year with the F3-level Euroformula series being chosen for the titular race. It was set to have Pau as part of its 2023 calendar too, but last week cancelled its races and so the event organiser had to make a last-minute decision to hand over the grand prix title to one of what had been one of the supporting F4 races.

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Social media

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Comment of the day

The Miami GP was an event that summed up how much has changed in F1 since Liberty Media became its commercial rights holder. The circuit location, the pre-race procedures and the audience – of celebrities and fans – that attended arguably made it the most visible instance yet of Liberty’s influence since its takeover.

Liberty’s media strategy looks very, very dated to me. The obsession with spectacle is myopic and creates unrealistic expectation. Liberty got lucky with a couple of things. Drive to Survive was lightning in in a bottle, and the editorial style was somewhat forced because of the absence of the the championships top two teams in season one. It also took advantage of enormous latent interest in behind the scenes stuff that was already present in the fanbase. Another thing they did was just engaging on social media. They didn’t have to do much and most media companies would have had similar success such was the lack of presence prior to their buyout. Again, they took advantage of latent interest. I am not sure they’ve really done anything beyond that that’s particularly innovative.

F1 is starting to look a bit Emperor’s New Clothes. If something is rubbish, I think it’s worth saying out loud it’s rubbish before its too late.
Alan Dove

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Julian Castaldi!

On this day in motorsport

  • 40 years ago today the FIA Court of Appeal upheld a decision to disqualify Keke Rosberg from second place in the Brazilian Grand Prix for receiving a push start. Bizarrely, no one was awarded his lost position, and second place was left vacant


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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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11 comments on “‘Everybody got Covid’ at Red Bull’s 2021 title celebrations”

  1. Unsurprising, but ultimately a non-issue with plenty of lead time until the 2022 season-opener.

    Typical Marko. Of course, Mercedes is at fault for the shortenings that have happened so far.

    Admittedly, COTD makes valid points with which I tend to agree to an extent.

    1. Admittedly, COTD makes valid points with which I tend to agree to an extent.

      Specifically, the calling out of something rubbish, like noting the sprint stuff as rubbish.
      Sadly, the only thing that is likely to be achieved is that we can all say “told you so” when someone other than Domenicali is driving the bus and there is a King’s new clothes moment.
      Until then, all we can look forward to is unsupported claims of “everyone” liking it despite every survey done showing otherwise and pretty much that everyone actually dislikes it.
      Surveys – all including the original one by F1, abandoned and hushed up keep giving the same result – the opposite of Domenicali’s claims.

      1. @jerejj loves *every* COTD :/

  2. I think shortened DRS is aimed to ruin race of the teams with better straight pace just like Albon said.

  3. If the DRS zone is shortened you know why

    I think the commentators said something along the lines that last year the DRS was considered to be too advantageous to the car behind, so it was shortened this year. If things had gone as expected, Red Bull would have been on the front row of the starting grid, so DRS would have been more or less irrelevant to them, and if some unforeseen event happened so one or both of those cars weren’t on the front row (which is what did happen) then whether or not there was DRS wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the race very much, Sergio and Max would favourites for the first two podium places.

    1. I am now waiting for people to accuse Horner of being responsible. “As Max normally is the front runner only Checo will benefit. It’s just another example of favouring Max by RedBull.”

      1. Maybe it’s just you

  4. And people say the Republican Party defines hypocrisy, well yeah they do, however Marko and Horner are writing the sequel.

  5. COTD makes some good points about Liberty lucking in with DtS and social media. There was also a huge potential contingent of younger fans who Ecclestone simply ignored as too poor, relatively, to be of interest. Formula 1 and Liberty remain with the awkward problem, this season at least, of running a competition where there is no actual competition for first place in either championship.

  6. Helmut Marko does not appear to understand physics when he says things like this.

    DRS is only available to cars that are behind other cars. So the one car that is most unlikely to benefit from DRS is the leading car. Shortening DRS would logically be expected to help the lead car. Last I checked (and more importantly, 3 months ago when the DRS decision should have been made), the leading car was almost invariably a Red Bull.

    Therefore, shortening DRS would, according to physics, be expected to help Red Bull. As such, the structure of Helmut’s objection doesn’t work unless he thinks Red Bull should receive more disadvantages from the FIA in future (something that Helmut’s allegiances and previous positions indicate are unlikely to be his intention). Perhaps it would be better is Helmut studied some more science, relaxed and enjoyed his team’s successes?

    (Red Bull partying in a way that gave everyone in the team COVID was not a good idea, but at least Christian Horner is prepared to acknowledge as much).

    1. Well put, I was thinking the same when reading it but thought I must be wrong as no one has pulled him up on it, perhaps a classic case of ‘Dont let the truth get in the way of a story’…

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