Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the 2021 tussle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton resulted in the "best year" for F1 in '40 years'.
The title fight between Verstappen and Hamilton will be remembered for years to come due in equal measure to the no-quarters-given racing of both drivers and the controversial manner in which the battle was decided.
Heading into the Abu Dhabi season-finale, the two title protagonists stood on level points, a scenario that had been seen in F1 just once before.
Asked if the title rivalry had helped to grow the sport's audience, Horner told Indian broadcaster WION: “For sure.
"Sport is all about competition. When you’ve got serial winners, it becomes less attractive so I think the fact that there was a big rivalry between the teams, between the two drivers…
“At every grand prix there was very little to choose between the two of them.
“It was a fantastic year. It was the best year I think Formula 1 has had as a sport for probably 30 or 40 years.”
Despite the rivalry, Horner approached had approached the Mercedes pit wall to shake the hand of team principal Toto Wolff after the chequered flag fell but was disappointed not to be able to locate the Austrian.
“At the end of the day, we are a sport. We’re not saving lives," added Horner.
"Sport is fierce, it’s competitive but there has to be a respect at the end of it and I think it was a long, hard, tough year last season and that is why I went to see Toto following the end of the race.
“Unfortunately, he wasn’t about but I did manage to speak with Lewis and his father.”