Christian Horner’s public persona appears to have undergone something of a makeover in 2016. No longer is he spouting the petulant ‘take our ball hone and leave F1’ rhetoric of Red bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz and neither is his authority being usurped by a quadruple world champion driver refusing to obey team orders.
In fact, when speaking on a number of issues this year, Horner has been on right on the money so far as the fans are concerned. Spice Boy gave a resounding ‘NO’ to the silly qualifying format invented by Bernie and Charlie Whiting when on a drunken night of whoring. And on the matter of team radio, once again ‘little jack’ called for a return to common sense which has been finally been heeded by the FIA’s master class lecturer in the art of the U-Turn.
Once again, Horner now ventures back to the hustings to ride the wave of public sentiment over the mess that is Whiting’s ever changing approach to enforcing track limits.
The issue of track limits meant in Austria we saw the air craft carrier launch systems masquerading as kerbs, in Silverstone times were deleted and last time out in Hockenheim there was a public spat between the Strategy Group and Charlie which forced the rules on track limits to be changed again.
Allegedly, efforts are being made over the summer break to devise a better policy for the remainder of the season, and Christian Horner would like to offer two simple solutions.
Either enforce track limits fully or abandon all attempts to restrict the drivers to the track.
“I think the problem is that you cannot take it corner by corner,” Horner told Motorsport.com. Some corners drivers are penalised for running wide and at others they are not. The FIA’s recent introduction of sensors saw drivers allowed have all four wheels outside the white line that defines the track limits, but only be able to use part of the kerb before being penalised.
“You cannot have one rule for Turn 1 and another rule for Turn 17 – otherwise that is too confusing for us within a paddock, let alone for the fans,” argues Horner.
The simple solution according to Christian is: “There is a white line that goes all the way around the circuit – and one very easy way of doing it is if you have all four wheels over that line, you are out. In other sports it seems to work, be it with a ball or a foot – whatever it may be”.
We the global F1 hordes stand together, united and cheer the Red Bull leader for his ‘common sense speak’. Some of us even now believe Christian will make a sensible replacement for Bernie Ecclestone – whe he retires in 20 years time.
Yet in reality, Christian has not been exorcised from the spirit of double speak and his alleged penchant for Chicken Kiev is a complete PR sham.
Horner knows full well that Charlie Whiting has admitted privately – and in the presence of a TJ13 team member – he does not have the resource/technology to “fully enforce 4 miles – or so – of white lines for 20 odd cars”.
Placing sensors at a couple of corners is a whole different ball game to managing the entire white line that defines the edge of the racing black stuff. This would require serious investment from the FIA – who are either reluctant or can’t afford to do so.
Our newly heralded F1’s man of the people, is fully aware of this when he calls for the simple solution of each circuit’s white line boundary to be enforced – knowing full well his duel option proposal in reality leaves Charlie with ‘Hobson’s choice’.
However, we have learned from the elongated machinations over the ‘new and improved’ 2016 F1 qualifying format that Charlie Whiting likes to consider himself beholden to no one – a trait often called stubbornness – and so he will probably make yet another attempt to define and enforce track limits by the time we all arrive Spa Francorchamps.