Austin - Red
Bull team boss Christian Horner has launched an impassioned plea for
consistent decision-making and a more careful choice of stewards after
Max Verstappen’s controversial demotion to fourth at Sunday’s United
States Grand Prix.
Horner avoided revealing names, but pointedly made it clear that one
of the stewards involved in the widely-criticised decision taken at the
Circuit of the Americas was involved in a similar episode at last year's
Mexican Grand Prix, which also involved Verstappen.
The young Dutchman, 20, who on Friday confirmed he had agreed a
contract to stay at Red Bull until 2020, was given a five seconds
penalty after a thrilling late passing move on Kimi Raikkonen of
Ferrari, saw him drive briefly off the track at the final corner of the
Horner said the penalty was "unbelievably harsh" and recalled that he
had been told last year in Mexico that drivers would be given a right
of reply in future if there was another similar incident.
He said that they were not allowed this in Austin and had no right of appeal.
"They said that they'd listen, look at all the facts, listen to the
drivers and then make a decision. What's happened? They've made an
instant decision and I think it's a shocking decision," he said.
"They didn't even listen to Max's argument. In other instances, they would have had the drivers in and listened to both sides.
"Maybe they would have come to the same conclusion, but at least give them the right of reply."
Horner also defended Verstappen for his post-race rant about the
stewards in which he blamed one "idiot steward" and claimed such
mistakes would kill the sport.
"He has the right to express himself and in any sport emotions run
high - that's what sport is about," said Horner. "If he'd said he was
happy with that decision I'd be amazed."
Horner added: "Consistency of stewarding depends on the stewards you
get on the day ... F1 is still immature in this country. It's a big race
and with the lack of consistency in the decisions I should think all the
viewers and the fans watching didn't understand.
"Even Kimi Raikkonen didn't understand why he was on the podium and not Max.
"Where do you gain an advantage and not gain an advantage? The race
director was quite clear he had no issues with track limits."
The stewards at Austin were Radovan Novak of the Czech Republic, Finn
Mika Salo and Australian Garry Connelly, who was involved also when
Verstappen was demoted from third to fourth in Mexico last year.
Verstappen did not mention names when he said:
"It's a shame we miss out on the podium, as they take it away again, but
It's just one idiot steward who always makes the decisions up there
"I get a five-second penalty and a penalty point - but for what? At the end of the day, everybody is running wide.
"The crowd is loving it and then you do something like that on world
TV. The way they did it is unbelievable. The sport makes no sense. They
kill the race like that.”
Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes blamed the design of modern circuits for the problems and the row.
"He's off-track," said Hamilton. "This is the problem with today's
circuits. I don't know who made the decision, but there's all these
"Why is that not grass? If it was grass he wouldn't have gone there.
"I just don't know why there's these flaws on these circuits. The new
generation of driver comes in and is very happy to exploit these
"Clearly, he's way off the line. You can't go there. It is very
difficult and when we're in drivers' briefings, we're always discussing