Red Bull team boss Christian Horner wants to see a stronger support network introduced to Race Control, showing sympathy for the under-fire Michael Masi after a contentious conclusion to the 2021 F1 season.
Masi’s handling of a late Safety Car at last year’s Abu Dhabi finale had a direct impact on the outcome of the Drivers’ Championship, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen beating Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to the title after a last-lap pass.
Amid backlash from Mercedes and fans, the FIA launched a full investigation into the decisions taken by Masi, with the report set to be released on 18 March – a couple of days before the new F1 season gets underway.
Horner wants support for the Race Director
Horner, though, has come to Masi’s defence, saying the Race Director needs more assistance and resources to deal with the demands of the role.
He also suggested that the rulebook should be simplified, following several other controversial decisions and points of confusion during the 2021 campaign.
“The new President [Mohammed Ben Sulayem] has put a key focus on this and I think there’s a big drive to make sure that the Race Director has better support,” Horner told Sky Sports.
“The tools that we [the teams] have at our disposal are far in advance of that of Michael and his team, so I think there’s been a lot of focus on that over the winter.
“I think you’ll see that role better supported, which will hopefully enable decisions to be easier and swifter, but I think we also need to look at the regulations to simplify some of those as well.”
No dampener on Red Bull’s celebrations
Asked if the aftermath of the title showdown had any effect on Red Bull’s celebrations, Horner brushed off the suggestion and made clear that the team “thoroughly enjoyed” their success.
However, he says the full focus is now on 2022, as Red Bull prepare to launch their new RB18 on 9 February.
“The only ones talking about it [the Abu Dhabi aftermath] have been you guys [the media],” Horner smiled.
“We thoroughly enjoyed getting that championship victory and obviously the focus is now on 2022 – 2021 is already history, but we’re excited about the season ahead.”
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