Christian Horner thinks Michael Masi acted correctly to restart the race in Abu Dhabi, and feels Mercedes had no grounds to successfully appeal his decision.
Mercedes lodged an appeal against the race result in the immediate aftermath of Max Verstappen overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap, but the FIA dismissed the claims made and came out in favour of Red Bull on Sunday.
Constructors’ Champions Mercedes then lodged their intention to take the case to the FIA’s International Court of Appeal, but the team ultimately decided against doing so – despite maintaining their opposition to the decisions made at the race.
However, Red Bull team principal Horner believed Masi had a “clear mandate” to restart the action in time for the final lap, and feels the decision helped “balance” what he feels went against his team this season.
Just a hunch…but we feel this was not ideal for the FIA parked up outside their prize-giving gala! #F1 #FIAPrizeGiving2021 pic.twitter.com/yKcMRsGcNG
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) December 16, 2021
“We didn’t really feel that there was the ground for it,” Horner told a press conference ahead of the FIA prize-giving ceremony on Thursday night, as per The Independent.
“Safety Cars are usual in Formula 1. We have seen it throughout the season.
“Obviously the determination of the race director is always to get the race going again. That has been a clear mandate for many years. A lot was made of it but that’s the way it is.
“We felt many things have gone against us this [year] but things have a habit of balancing themselves out over the course of the year.”
Verstappen was the beneficiary of the race director’s decision to restart, having pitted for far fresher tyres than his title rival, overtaking Hamilton and defending to take his first title in the most dramatic of circumstances.
He was in Paris to receive the Drivers’ Championship trophy, while Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff decided not to attend the annual ceremony.
The talk of Mercedes’ appeal has rumbled on since the weekend finished in Abu Dhabi, but Verstappen insists he was not concerned with what may have occurred – including the possibility of having his title taken away from him.
“Not really. We were having a really a good time as a team,” said the new World Champion.
“We knew we won it on the track when there was a green light or a green flag. Nobody could ever take that away from us, so I was in a good mood.”
Hamilton is yet to speak publicly since the season finished at the weekend.
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