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.