Horner attempts a defence at hypocrisy criticism


Christian Horner has come out fighting following the nigh on universal condemnation of his threats that Red Bull could leave Formula One. The Red Bull team principal called for regulation changes to prevent Mercedes AMG F1’s dominance whilst his colleague, Helmut Marko added, the current rules were ‘killing the sport’.

Much of the reaction to Red Bull’s position has been to suggest they are being hypocritical by complaining now. Lewis Hamilton observed, “It’s very interesting to hear that when they dominated for four years, big time.”

But Horner explains that regulation changes were made during their all conquering era: “We had to adapt to that, we had to adapt from fuelling, to no refuelling, to bodywork change, double diffuser to no double diffuser, blown diffuser, engine mapping changes mid-season – you name it.”

Yet these changes were predominantly made not with the explicit motive to deny Red Bull their advantage, but were part of the normal process where the FIA regulates on technical advances and were also clarifications of those rulings.

Refuelling was a decision made predominantly on safety grounds and to introduce an improved element of strategy during the races. Double diffusers were not a Red Bull technology and in fact the Milton Keynes’s team campaigned vociferously for the design to be outlawed during 2009 – and failed.

Engine mapping regulations were clarified during the season, because Red Bull were deemed to be pushing into a grey area the FIA had not properly excluded.

For the record, the engine regulations as they stand, were demanded by the Formula One engine manufactures – particularly Renault. Working parties were set up which included non-F1 automotive manufacturers who were asked for their input.

The new engine formula was finally agreed in 2011 together with the implementation timescales and the FIA regulated accordingly.

Christian Horner also claims that during Red Bull’s utter dominance of F1 that they were “never winning to the advantage that Mercedes have”.

Didn’t Vettel win 13 races in 2011, equalling Michael Schumacher’s all time record?

Then there was the 9 consecutive victories in 2013 which remains unparalleled in a single Formula One season.

The reality of the matter is that Red Bull were consistently sailing close to the wind insofar as their designs were often deemed to be in ‘grey areas’ of the sport’s technical regulations.

Red Bull were thrown out of qualifying in Abu Dhabi for blatant car design irregularities which makes them the only team in recent memory to suffer such a judgement. Of course this followed their disqualification from the 2014 opening race for a similar open disregard for the rules.

Horner would do well to take Toto Wolff’s advice and get the ‘heads down’ in Milton Keynes and at Renault’s headquarters in Viry, rather than continue his failed PR assault on why Formula One should bow down to Red Bull’s demands.

Further, were the all conquering Red Bull Racing to heed the advice from their engine supplier on which power unit is fully tested and good to go, they may not find themselves in the position where Daniel Ricciardo is now faced with just 3 engines for the remainder of the year. (See TJ13 Daily News & Comment for Wednesday for this story).

As Sauber learned yesterday, attempting to defend the indefensible just leads to the hole you are digging getting deeper and deeper.

32 responses to “Horner attempts a defence at hypocrisy criticism

  1. “Christian Honer also claims that during Red Bull’s utter dominance of F1 that they were “never winning to the advantage that Mercedes have”.”

    Irrespective of the results, Horner is actually correct about this one (though not much else!). Even in 2011 their average qualifying advantage was IRO 0.45s, and that’s as high as it ever got. Merc in 2014 averaged IRO 0.9s and it was actually higher if you discount Williams who were never allowed to race them. If you took it for the next team who’d race to win? Well it’s more like 1.3s. Contrast with 2012 where McLaren were faster and 2013 were the average qualifying gap was down to less than 0.2s in RBRs favour. The 2012 title is worth ten times that of a 2011, 2002 or indeed ’14 because the cars were so closely matched.

    • In qually they may have been close, but in the race it was a completely different thing. There were races in which Seb was close to if not more than a second a lap faster than anyone else.

      • Why are MB / Lewis / Nico fans so keen to talk down MB’s current dominance? There are a few different attitudes out there about what to do about it, but the only one’s saying they aren’t THAT good are MB fans. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

        The reasons behind RBR’s previous dominance were different, but the overall effect was ultimately the same – boredom at the pointy end. For a non-aligned fan, it sucked then and it sucked now.

        Petty whining, axe grinding, grudge holding and gain-saying over Horner’s comments is fun (if you’re into that kind of thing) but over your shoulder I can still see plumes of smoke rising from Rome. Let’s move on, eh? Clicks must be tapering by now, surely.

        Horner’s being a tone-deaf blockhead again thinking that more justification from him is going to help the situation.

        A crusty old diesel mechanic I was working with many moons ago gave me some great advice:

        Never explain. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies ain’t listening anyway.

        • The reason why Mercedes themselves and their fanbase is talking down the dominance is easy. Lewis in particular seems to be keen to make it appear as if he actually had to work for those wins.
          The explanation is easy. Alonso and Lewis were the the loudest in explaining in 2013 that they were fighting Newey and not Seb and how that it is bad for the sport that RB are so far ahead. Now Lewis sits in an über-dominant car himself and of course he doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of what he dished out 2 years ago.
          The same pretty much goes for his fanbase. They gladly take the easy wins, but they don’t wanna hear what they said about Seb not so many moons ago.

          • Now you’re lying Hippo, you’ve never heard Lewis at no point say he was racing against Newey, that was Alonso. Lewis has always applauded Seb for what he has done, what he has said was, “he wants to be up there challenging him because he’s having it too easy”

          • So where in that did he say he was racing against Newey?

            How many times this season have you heard him say he hope that the other teams catch up, so as to put on a show for the fans?

            Whether he’s truthful or not, he still said it.

          • For the record here’s a Hamilton quote ““I think lots of people in the paddock wish they could have Adrian’s car so they could show that they’re just as competitive as Sebastian”

            Applauded you say Fortis? it looks like he’s paraphrased Alonso really…

          • Again Paul..

            Hippo said Lewis continually put Seb down by saying he was racing against Newey

            Now your quote does not prove anything of the sort.

          • For the record Paul here’s a Hamilton quote about Seb…

            ““Not only that, he is a great human being who is funny and humble. Deserves all the success he is having! I admire his dedication & ability to consistently perform without mistakes. This is the mark of a true champion.”

          • Neither has Lewis. The only difference is, that the Merc is so dominant, no other car can split them even under the best of circumstances

          • Lewis said often that Seb was getting the job done with the car at his disposal, and that it wasn’t as easy as just turning up. So same thing applies for Lewis today. He was never troubled in the first race, it was an easy win for him. When the car can do the winning for ya, let it.

            But here’s some homework for ya: name me one win by Seb where he REALLY had to work for it, where he should not only not have won, but that it shouldn’t have even been close. Lewis’ win in Bahrain last year was such a win, where in the end it was the driver that made the difference between winning and losing. Lewis should have been dead to rights when the SC erased his lead, 10 laps to go, with Rosberg behind on the faster tires. Yet he pulled out the win.

            Please recount a race win from Seb where he did something similar, because I can certainly recall a few races where he was scared off the track by Button (BUTTON!!!), specifically Turkey ’09 and Canada ’11. Then there are races like USA where Vettel should’ve won, but he lost out to Hamilton. Hungary ’13, screwed up his quali lap, then got stuck behind Button, and that was it … another “should’ve won” turned into a lesser podium.

            Please don’t say Spain ’11, because Vettel had all the advantages in the only area where it mattered, on the pit straight. If he had lost that one, it would’ve been really bad.

            Certain moments like that tell big stories. Losing the race to Jenson on the last lap in Canada hardly hurt him in the DWC standings, but it spoke loud indeed. Likewise GBR ’11 when he got held up by Hamilton’s McLaren mid-race, couldn’t find a way past, and had to bail out for new tires. Any chance of victory was lost in those laps where he couldn’t find a way around a slower car. Very much like Rosberg in Hungary last year, couldn’t find a way past when it mattered.

        • They don’t all Roger… This year could be snooze fest… My boy has two titles now, so I want to see him fighting for it now, even if it means no more titles. Better that than watching more Races like Australia. I’ll admit Horners a shit, and I hate Red Bull as a drink and brand, so amy statement from them sound like your Dad telling you that your pants are pulled too far up and your dancing crap, but there is a kernel of truth to what he says, even if he’s delivering it for less than altruistic reasons.

          The fix unfortunately involves so much change and is impossible, as it is intrinsically linked to the entire structure and set up of the sport as it is. The people who should be making these calls are not able to do so, and are corrupt anyways. This means its pretty pointless discussing it, because can any of us honestly imagine it changing, pre Ecclestones death? So we do what humanbeans do, play with the rules we got and moan. Continue the ‘haters gon hate’ – ‘playa play on’ rhetoric in this mobius band of ridiculousness; ad infinitum.

          Therefore we have Horner March 2015 citing small reg changes over the Red Bull ‘dominating’ years to hamper them, and so far in 2014 we had the FRIC band ‘against Mercedes’ too, and I expect more tweaks ‘against Mercedes’ in 2015 as well, but they will serve the same as the tweaks ‘against Red Bull’ in so far as they do feck all. Like most empires Merc will fall, and F1 history suggests they have about 4-5 to enjoy it before they collapse like a sack of crap.

      • Looking at race pace, Merc still had 2s a lap on the field when they really needed it last year (more like 2.5s in certain conditions), they, much like RBR in race trim were simply managing the situation. Either way the point remains, Horner is correct, hey were “never winning to the advantage that Mercedes have”.

    • I don’t believe for a single second that Red Bull will leave the sport and close down two teams.

      They may SELL the two teams (on the assumption they can find a buyer) but that means the teams stay. Anything else is scare-mongering to get what they want.

      Just my opinion.

        • If there were willing investors for a team like Manor/Marussia, I’d imagine that for a team that isn’t mired in debt with a much better base for development for the future there’d be some more interested parties? I don’t know who that would be, but it stands to reason that if there were people willing to invest in back-of-the-grid teams with a host of creditors asking for money then for a team like RBR/Toro Roso there would be reasonable interest.

          If the Renault engine contract was tied to Red Bull’s involvement too then any prospective owner might have the possibility of switching over to Mercedes power too which would help considerably…

        • Renault would possibly buy one… Torro Rosso ?

          Would anyone want Red Bull – higher overheads & apparently bigger problems, and egos.

        • You could sell any 2 paintings in TJ13 Towers and buy Red bull. Stop hoarding. Winner of the karting event gets the first race seat.

  2. Interesting to look at these stats –
    Tokens remaining:
    Merc 7
    Honda 9 (avg of the other three, rounded down)
    Ferrari 10
    Renault 12

    – and ask why Honda aren’t whingeing.

  3. First Rule Of Holes: When you find yourself in one, stop digging. Second, examine your workmanship. Third, Contemplate exactly how you got there.

  4. Was Red Bulls advantage ever this big? Probably not. But theres several ways of looking at it, once you get an advantage of a certain size is doesn’t really matter any more, you become simply unbeatable. Was Red Bull ever like this? At times yes.

    Measures to slow Red Bull down at the time revolved around grey areas that teams thought Red Bull were exploiting, you can’t really say the same about Mercedes. The only thing close on the Mercedes is perhaps the nose camera mounts? The Mercedes is winning by being the complete package, there are no (obvious) hidden tricks or grey areas that they are exploiting. This is what probably annoys Horner the most, the Mercedes is better fair and square….

    Should something be done to slow them down, well that is a slippery slope indeed.

    • You nailed it, that after a certain advantage the rest is merely “padding”. That extra might come in handy at some races, and allow you to nick another win, but over an entire season being 1s/lap ahead or 2s/lap ahead won’t change the final results that much.

      Vettel also had the benefit of his team engineering his teammate out of the way, such as Germany and Japan in 2013.

      It was that way in RBR right from when Vettel joined in 2009. There’s the great story of how after Webber’s dominant win at the Nurburgring that year, that the atmosphere inside the RBR motorhomes afterwards was almost funereal, b/c Seb had missed out on a much-needed victory, even with his teammate having to serve a drive-through during the race. So much so that Webber’s girlfriend shouted out something to the effect of “you’d think someone had died, rather than having won the bloody race!!!”

      Like ’em or loathe them, where possible Mercedes are giving both drivers an opportunity to win the race, with the leader going option-option-prime, and the second car going option-prime-option. That’s what led to the grandstand finish in Bahrain last year.

  5. Well I do recall many changes to the regulations over the years in a desperate attempt to slow Sebastian (in particular) down. Culminating in tyres that were so hopeless in 2013 that the powers that be finally had their wish and every race was a complete ridiculous lottery in terms of who would win and who would even finish. The Silverstone debacle put paid to that, and once Pirelli started making tyres out of rubber again Sebastian went back to dominating.

    As has been said before, what we need is Nico to step up and start racing Lewis. Otherwise I can see more fiddling to try and keep everyone interested, and nothing undermines F1 as a proper sport than the spectre of the governing body interfering with the regulations to try and spice up “the show”.

  6. Hörner keeps complaining and the world keeps smiling. He hates the fact that the Mercedes is a better car and isn’t using any shady designs to be the fastest so instead he is threatening to leave the sport that helped Red Bull make millions now that he is no longer winning.

    Message to Christian : “Mercedes are the biggest bully in town now, get over it.”

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