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Horner slates FIA after "balls-up" results in Verstappen penalty

Horner slates FIA after "balls-up" results in Verstappen penalty

F1 News


Horner slates FIA after "balls-up" results in Verstappen penalty

Horner slates FIA after "balls-up" results in Verstappen penalty

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has slated the FIA for the "balls-up" that led to Max Verstappen being handed a five-place grid penalty for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Verstappen was found to have ignored double-waved yellow flags at the end of qualifying after Pierre Gasly crawled to a stop on the start-finish straight after a front wing failure and puncture on his final run.

The championship leader will now start seventh on the grid with rival Lewis Hamilton on pole, having completed his lap ahead of Gasly's misfortune.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 moments after the stewards' verdict, Horner fumed: "We are struggling to understand it to be honest with you. It was a complete balls-up.

"They said play on, the circuit is safe and clear. Max was at the beginning... he was in the first [micro] sector so he had so much time to look at it.

"The dash, everything for him is indicated otherwise we, of course, would have informed him. Unfortunately, there was a yellow flag, he just didn't see it. He saw the white one, he saw the car, he even saw a green one on the right-hand side.

"I think it is just a rogue marshal who stuck a flag out. He has not been instructed to by the FIA.

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

"What is frustrating is that the race director [Michael Masi] has said 'it is fine, get on, it is a safe track' so effectively, turning off the yellows and on the GPS, all the signals we have says the track is safe, even the slippery surface has gone and so there is nothing to communicate to the driver.

Citing a lack of consistency after Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz escaped punishment, Horner added: "I really don't understand, Carlos Sainz has done exactly the same thing, he hasn't seen it, driven straight past with DRS open, fully planted and has lifted about 10 metres before the line and that is ok.

"I think there needs to be some grown-ups making grown-up decisions because just having binary... if someone sticks the yellow flag out, it is just frustrating and the race director should have control of the circuit.

"He is the referee at the end of the day and otherwise, anybody could... you get a marshal deciding to stick a yellow flag out, how does that work?"

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