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.
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
“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
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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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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