Christian Horner slams suggestion Max Verstappen could be stripped of F1 title
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has blasted suggestions Max Verstappen could be stripped of his maiden F1 title.
Verstappen pinched the 2021 crown from Lewis Hamilton in highly controversial fashion thanks to race director Michael Masi’s botched handling of a late-race safety car. Masi lost his job as a result and subsequently left the sport’s governing body, the FIA, altogether.
There is now another cloud over that title triumph with suggestions that Red Bull have breached the sport’s budget cap, with the results of the FIA’s auditing process to be announced next week. If Red Bull are found to have broken the rules, their punishment will hinge on the severity of the transgression, whether it is a ‘minor’ breach or a more serious ‘material’ one.
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The maximum penalty available to the FIA is exclusion from last season’s championship, which would hand Hamilton a record-breaking eighth world title after all. Horner has insisted his team have operated within the rules and has even threatened legal action against those he claims have “defamed” Red Bull.
On the suggestion Verstappen could lose his drivers’ title, Horner told Sky Sports F1: “It’s totally fictitious. The FIA have come out and made it very clear they haven’t even concluded their process.
“How can anybody make that claim? It’s ridiculous. It’s disappointing and the scale of the comments that have been made, you can only see it as a way to discredit everything that we have done this year and last year and even into next year. It’s appalling that these comments are going without any kind of retribution."
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Horner was referring to comments made by the likes of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who said on Friday: “The crucial part is that if you’re over [the cap] in ’21, you’ve been over in ’22. That means you have an advantage into ’23. It’s a chain of events that can be influential in all three championships.
“It’s heavyweight [issue], massively heavyweight. We are using used parts, we are not running what we would want to run. We’re not developing what we could be developing."
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