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Horner Counters Stella's Charge on Integrity

Horner Counters Stella’s Charge on Integrity

06/07/2024

Christian Horner defends his integrity against Andrea Stella’s charges while stressing the need for a more competitive Sergio Pérez.

Following the Austrian Grand Prix, Christian Horner robustly defended Max Verstappen’s driving on track, even though the Dutch driver had been penalised by the FIA for a clash with Lando Norris on the 64th lap.

The Milton Keynes chief suggested that Lando Norris was not sufficiently accustomed to competing with Verstappen, stating he needed to “learn to drive” against the Dutchman and implying at the Red Bull Ring, it was predominantly the Brit who seemed to seek the collision. “It was as if [Norris] was just trying to cause something at turn three,” Horner remarked.

In response, Andrea Stella went as far as to question the “integrity” of Christian Horner (refer to our article).

Following Free Practice 1 at Silverstone, Christian Horner was inevitably questioned about his McLaren F1 counterpart’s comments.

Challenged on his integrity, what was Horner’s response to Stella?

“I haven’t heard everything he said.”

“The stewards have a job to do. They issue penalties when they believe someone has faulted.”

“They judged that Max clearly moved under braking; they gave him a ten-second penalty. Obviously, there’s always a lot of emotion post-race.”

“I can only imagine that this isn’t a situation Andrea has found himself in before, so perhaps there were a lot of emotions.”

A pointed dig at Stella then: McLaren F1 is not accustomed to fighting at the front of the grid!

As for the incident itself, Christian Horner is still not inclined to concede to the FIA stewards.

“Not really. They race hard against each other. I think you can see they both discussed it. Lando somewhat revised his stance, which is understandable given the emotion following the race.”

“I’m sure we will see more fierce racing between them in the second half of the year. We must learn from this and move forward.”

Christian Horner puts the Red Bull Ring incident in the context of the previous Grand Prix in Spain. Lando Norris had initially squeezed Max Verstappen onto the grass, allowing George Russell, who started fourth, to take the lead of the race.

“For me, this incident started a week earlier, on the straight towards Turn 1 at Barcelona, where Lando had pushed Max into the grass.”

“I’m not saying Max was returning the favour, but you can see things are heating up. These two men have faced off and engaged in fierce races throughout their careers. You know Max.”

“He will fight for every inch of asphalt. I’m sure Lando will have learned from this experience. So has Max. Ultimately, he received a penalty for it, which is obviously unfortunate.”

Horner Puts Pressure on Sergio Pérez

Max Verstappen’s lead in races might be more comfortable if his teammate Sergio Pérez were closer to his level.

However, this is far from the case. In qualifying in Austria, on a 64-second track, the Mexican was nearly nine-tenths behind his teammate… And yet, he is under contract with Red Bull for another two years, in theory.

But is Christian Horner growing impatient and starting to pressure Sergio Pérez? Indeed, a shift in tone from Horner is noticeable, who until now has been somewhat lenient towards Checo.

“In the first five races, Sergio was very competitive, but in the last five, he was nowhere to be seen.”

“We want to see the Sergio from the first five races again. He knows he can do it and he is working hard on it.”

“When you are Max Verstappen’s teammate, you know you are up against the best. We need him there to support Max because there are now two McLarens, two Ferraris, two Mercedes. We desperately need two Red Bulls.”

Horner was openly asked if Red Bull had made a mistake in renewing the Mexican driver’s contract earlier than anticipated, to which the team boss responded:

“That’s a very direct question! But, of course, once you sign a driver, the content of any agreement is not going to be disclosed to all of you.”

“It made perfect sense to sign Checo at that time. But this is an industry where there are pressures to deliver on promises.”

“We thought the contract would help. I think Checo is working very hard on this point, and he knows that in this sport, there’s nowhere to hide.”

In the Silverstone paddock, there’s talk that Christian Horner might push for an exchange with Daniel Ricciardo. However, Pérez’s sponsors do not want to see the Mexican leave RB F1. Could we be heading towards a straightforward dismissal?

Helmut Marko, for his part, does not wish to see Ricciardo promoted based on his current performances, and this remains a point of contention at Red Bull…

Red Bull Urges Pérez for Stronger Race Form

Red Bull Urges Pérez for Stronger Race Form Red Bull Urges Pérez for Stronger Race Form. f1 2024 Red Bull Urges Pérez for Stronger Race Form

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