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Horner fumes at "dangerous" pit stop directive and accuses rivals of 'slowing Red Bull down'

Horner fumes at "dangerous" pit stop directive and accuses rivals of 'slowing Red Bull down'

Horner fumes at "dangerous" pit stop directive and accuses rivals of 'slowing Red Bull down'

Horner fumes at "dangerous" pit stop directive and accuses rivals of 'slowing Red Bull down'
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Christian Horner has slated the new technical directive aimed at slowing F1 pit stops down by suggesting it has "not been well thought through" and has taken aim at Red Bull's competitors for trying to slow his team down.

The FIA will introduce timing tolerances from the Hungarian Grand Prix to ensure the release of a car is only enabled after a humanly possible time has expired, much like the tolerance used for a driver's reaction time to the start lights in the grand prix.

Whilst the directive is highly complex as it relates to various sensors within the mechanical tools used during a pit stop, it has been brought in to ensure all new tyres are fitted correctly and without harm to others in the pit lane.

Red Bull has long prided itself on setting the fastest pit stops at each race, often sub-two seconds, with the team currently holding the world record at 1.82secs during the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix.

"The technical directive is certainly very wordy and you almost have to question whether it is a change of regulation," explained Horner.

"I suppose we have been very competitive, we have got the world record on pit stops and we have had the majority of the fastest stops and it is not by accident. I find it a little disappointing.

"It is the duty of the competitor to ensure that the car is safe and the penalty for a wheel not being fixed is you have to stop the car immediately, so it is a brutal punishment if you haven't got all four wheels securely and safely fastened.

"What the technical directive is trying to achieve, I am not quite sure because I think there is an awful lot of complexity to it.

"Of course, if you are in a competitive situation, if you can't be beaten then obviously the most logical thing is for your competitors to try and slow you down and that is obviously what is happening here."

On the flurry of recent technical directives seemingly aimed at doing that, such as the clampdown on flexi-wings at the French Grand Prix, Horner added: "You can see there is an awful lot of pointed activity in our direction at the moment and that comes with being in the territory of being competitive.

"An awful lot of energy is being put into trying to slow the car down, which is what happens in a competitive business. It is something we are used to but I am not losing too much sleep about."

Red Bull questions end of sub-two second stops

Given Red Bull's speed with its pit stops, Horner feels there is even an element of danger now being introduced into the system.

"I think it has already slowed pit stops this year after the earlier discussions and directives that have been on the pit stops so I think to have to hold the car for two-tenths of a second I think, you could almost argue it is dangerous," Horner continued.

"You are judging your gaps, the guy that is releasing the car is having to make that judgement and I think it has not been well thought through.

"F1 is about innovation and competition and seeing pit stops sub-two seconds is a remarkable feat and I think we should be encouraging it and not trying to control it otherwise, where does it stop?

"We are going to be told which way to walk into the garage and how we should sit on the pit wall and which buttons we should press I guess."

Wolff hints at Mercedes hand in new directive

After Horner had accused rival teams of targeting Red Bull to slow the team down, Toto Wolff was asked if he could confirm Mercedes had no hand in persuading the FIA to pursue the new technical directive.

"On the pit stop, we enquired with the FIA on a safety mechanism which is related to a system that we were using and whether that could be optimised," said Wolff.

"That happened, I would say, three or four weeks ago and was a technology question. Did that trigger anything else? Maybe, I don't know but this is the question we have asked."

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