FIA Race Director Michael Masi defended the official warning that the stewards gave to Red Bull boss Christian Horner for his personal attacks.
Christian Horner was summoned to the stewards after the race in Qatar after he publicly criticised the latter’s decision to penalise Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas for ‘ignoring’ yellow flags in Q3. The warnings on track came after Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri stopped on the side of the track.
The Red Bull team principal blamed a ‘rogue marshal’ for waving the yellow flag and insinuated that the FIA need to have ‘better control’ over the marshals. He further went on to say: “There needs to be some grown-up decisions made by grown-ups”.
The stewards in Qatar organised for Christian Horner’s “rogue” marshal to meet Max, to compensate for his team boss’s rogue remark. A nice touch. pic.twitter.com/SDlLYnxzc0
— Joe Saward (@joesaward) November 22, 2021
Horner was not the only one from the Red Bull who unleashed on the stewards and the marshals for penalising their driver. Dr. Helmut Marko chimed in as well.
“It’s ridiculous. You know the FIA can’t organise a proper marshaling system and they are hiding their incompetence on the shoulders of the driver. Unbelievable.”
However, it was only Horner who was officially held accountable for his words against the stewards and the marshals. As Horner apologised for his words, he suggested that they were said ‘under the pressure of competition’. He was given a warning by the FIA.
Michael Masi is not pleased with Horner
FIA Race Director Michael Masi defended the marshals and insisted that the words used by Christian Horner were uncalled for.
“I think you should not attack any person,” he said. “Particularly when we have thousands of volunteer marshals around the world, that give up a huge amount of time globally, without them this sport that everyone has very close to their heart [couldn’t happen].
“All of them give up a huge amount of time. Without them, it won’t happen. That’s the part that a lot of people miss.
“I will defend every volunteer official and every official at every racetrack around the world, that [such criticism] is not accepted.”
Marshals know best
Masi reiterated that it is the trackside marshals who are ultimately the highest authority with respect to the flags displayed on the track.
“With all yellow flags that are displayed from trackside, they’re in the hands of the officials’ control as they are at every venue anywhere,” said Masi.
“And if they deem that it’s a single or a double, it’s up to those officials to determine that. And they judge what they see before them.”
Masi felt there was nothing wrong in the call the marshal made to display the yellow flags in the sector where Gasly’s car ground to a halt.
BREAKING: Max Verstappen given 5-place grid penalty for ignoring double yellow flags in qualifying. pic.twitter.com/TzFmqSUYOO
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) November 21, 2021
“What the locals did, they reacted to the situation before them,” he assured. “And that’s plain and simple.
“If you have a look at what was there and what was happening and with everything with Pierre’s car, they acted upon instinct for what was before them.”
“They acted in the best interest of keeping everyone safe on track. And I don’t think anyone should be criticised for acting upon their instincts.”