Horner’s last-minute U-turn to lead Red Bull’s ‘robust defence’ of F1 title

Christian Horner has decided to go back on his word on staying in Abu Dhabi to conduct interviews, instead getting on the first flight out back home.

The Red Bull principal looks set to battle Mercedes behind the scenes after fireworks on the race course on Sunday afternoon.

Max Verstappen won his first World Championship in controversial circumstances after overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

With both racers going into the race neck and neck, it served up one of the most dramatic moments that Formula One has ever seen.

But Mercedes were furious that race director Michael Masi allowed the race to resume with one lap left, eroding all of Hamilton’s 11-second lead over his rival.

It has led to calls for the race to be overturned with Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff particularly incensed.

According to Sky Sports reporter Craig Slater, Mercedes have signalled an “intention to appeal” that has forced Red Bull’s Horner into ditching his original decision to hang around and speak to journalists.

He said: “I had hoped to speak to Christian Horner in the next hour or two but interestingly his plans have changed.

“I have been told he has flying back the UK to take charge of Red Bull’s – and I quote – ‘robust defence’, which has the full backing of the Austrian HQ.

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“Dietrich Mateschitz, the billionaire owner of Red Bull, is involved in this now and Christian Horner has gone back.

“They do expect Mercedes to take this matter further. What they did is launch an intention to appeal, which does not make them appeal but gives them 96 hours to marshal their evidence and submit that to the FIA court of appeal.

“We do not know if Mercedes will appeal yet but they have given themselves a window of opportunity to do so.”

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