Red Bull boss Christian Horner issued ‘official warning’ after frustrated Qatar GP comment

Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner has been handed an official warning by the FIA after making a “statement accusing the flag marshal who waved the double yellow flag at Point 16.6 as being a ‘Rogue Marshal'” which was a breach of FIA rules.

The document read: “The Stewards heard from the Team Principal (Christian Horner). He explained that his reaction was one that was made under the pressure of competition following the penalty imposed on the driver of Car 33.

“The Stewards explained that the marshal concerned was doing his job in precisely the manner prescribed in the International Sporting Code. Mr Horner offered to apologise to the marshal concerned and to explain to the media that he meant no offense.

“He also offered to participate in the 2022 FIA International Stewards Programme in early February. The Stewards unreservedly accept Mr Horner’s offer.”

The comments came after Max Verstappen picked up a five-place grid penalty for failing to slow under double waved yellow flags, but Carlos Sainz Jnr was left unpunished.

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Before the race, Horner told Sky Sports F1: “I think it’s just a rogue marshal that’s stuck a flag out and he’s not been instructed to by the FIA.

“They’ve got to have control of their marshals, it’s as simple as that because that’s a crucial blow in this world championship for us. Now starting P7 at a track you can’t overtake at, that is massive.

“What’s frustrating is that the race director has said ‘get on, it’s fine, it’s a safe track, finish your laps’, effectively, by turning off the yellow.

“So all the GPS, all the signals that we have saying ‘track is safe’, even the slippery surface is gone so there’s nothing to communicate to the driver.”

After a trip to the stewards, however, Horner apologised for any offence caused, admitting it was due to “inconsistency” frustrations. 

He said: “Some comments were made I think in our interview earlier where you asked me about the marshalling and I’d like to make it clear that marshals do a wonderful, wonderful job and their volunteers, they do a great job.

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“My frustration in what I voiced earlier, wasn’t at marshalls, it was a circumstance and so if any offence was taken by any individual then obviously I apologise for that.

“But still frustrating to end up with the situation that we had but phenomenal recovery by Max and the team today.”

Hamilton’s win in Qatar means he has closed the gap to Verstappen, with just eight points separating the two in the driver standings with just two races remaining.

And with tensions rising between the two teams, Horner couldn’t resist taking a little jab at his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff.

“The grid penalty is frustrating, but I think we’ve actually been fairly very pretty good without our emotions. I haven’t been pointing and swearing at cameras,” added Horner, in reference to Wolff’s celebration in Brazil when Hamilton overtook Verstappen for the lead of the race.

Damon Hill, the Sky Sports pundit and 1996 world champion, then interjected: “You’re quite punchy at times.”

“I’ll tell you straight,” came the reply from Horner.

“If I think you’re being an a**, I’ll tell you you’re being an a**. I’ve spoken to the FIA, I’ve apologised if any offence in any way was created, as that wasn’t my intention. 

“My frustration wasn’t with an individual marshal, it was with a situation.

“One car had driven through, there was no yellow, one car gets a single yellow, one car gets a double yellow, it was the inconsistency across that and we can learn from that as a sport, we can learn from that.

“But for all the marshals out there, we need yoU, we think you do a wonderful job. And apologies if any offence was interpreted.”

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