Red Bull team boss Horner not happy after Ricciardo penalty

March 24 2018 , 3:14 am

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has called for Formula 1 officials to be given more leeway in issuing penalties after Daniel Ricciardo was given an Australian Grand Prix grid drop.

Ricciardo was hit with a three-place grid penalty, and two licence points, for not slowing down sufficiently when the red flag flew in free practice 2 thanks to a cable embedded in the pit straight coming loose.

Horner believes that the stewards should have more flexibility when issuing penalties, and be in a position to take different scenarios into account.

“Daniel was gutted yesterday, absolutely gutted,” Horner said

“It was a mistake that he then corrected, he slowed dramatically. He put his hand up, he didn’t try and defend it and say he hadn’t made a mistake, he didn’t try and fudge it all.

“But did the punishment fit the crime?

“Obviously he’s broken the rules, to the letter of it. The stewards, I think, absolutely sympathised, but the way that rules are written, there had no opportunity to do anything else other than give him a grid penalty.

“Again, it brings back the argument of if there was a professional, permanent referee, it should be within his jurisdiction to be able to say, ‘that’s silly, I don’t want to see that happen again,’ and let it be a warning to all others. Especially as it’s a brand new regulation, that’s just been introduced.

“At the end of the day a red flag is a red flag, but every incident is always slightly different.”

Red Bull did not challenge the decision, but Horner suggested the penalty issued is evidence that F1 is over-regulated.

“While we accept the penalty and we haven’t challenged it, sometimes I do think that this sport does tend to over-regulate, and it’s very difficult to then try to explain to the fans,” said Horner.

“You would have thought a stiff word in his ear, perhaps even a fine, would have been a better way of dealing with it than a penalty at circuit that it’s notoriously difficult to overtake on.”

F1 boss Ross Brawn has assembled a team of specialists who are looking into future sporting and technical regulations on behalf of his organisation, and Horner agreed that the penalty system should be part of that review.

“All that kind of stuff needs to be looked at, because I think the problem is that the drivers and team managers are always asking for black and white, what happens in this scenario, but every situation is slightly different,” said Horner.

“That’s where if you have a professional referee, as it were, he should then have an element of judgement to make on each incident.

“The problem is that the criteria the stewards had, they had no other option. They didn’t want to give him a penalty, you can see that, and they did their best to make it as fitting as possible.”


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