F1 Italian GP should have been red flagged, Horner says

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Although drivers cautiously took the checkered flag, Max Verstappen was not challenged at the end, but Horner said it was bad for the championship that the cars didn’t race to the finish.

He says it goes against a core principle that teams have long agreed on, which is that it is essential that races do not end with the safety cars and that the fans are disappointed.

Although the FIA ​​blames the difficulties in recovering the stricken McLaren from Daniel Ricciardo on the fact that it was unable to get the race going and there was no reason to red flag the race as it was dangerous Horner thinks there was ample opportunity to provide a grandstand. finish.

As well as the FIA ​​better handling its safety car procedures after picking up the wrong leader and then delaying to rally the peloton in the correct order, Horner believes that once it became clear a restart was not possible would have been, the race should have been stopped.

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That would have given the marshals more time to retrieve Ricciardo’s car and clear the track for a one or two-lap shootout.

With fans on the track expressing their dismay at the situation as they started cheering when it became clear there would be no restart, it is clear to Horner that the FIA ​​should use what happened as a learning experience.

“I think there are always lessons to be learned,” he said. “But it goes against the principles of what we’ve discussed, which is that it’s not good to finish races under safety cars.

“Had they known they couldn’t get it going, they should have given the warning and started over. But of course that didn’t happen.”

Horner thinks there is nothing wrong with F1’s sporting rules as they are, as he downplayed the need for a rule change to force a red flag if the safety car comes out in the closing stages.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

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Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Instead, he is clear that the blame for what happened at Monza lay entirely with the FIA ​​for not getting procedures in order.

“To be honest, I think that could have been resolved over time,” he said. “I think it was a matter of picking up the wrong car.

“The safety car didn’t catch a leader and that caused a huge delay for them to overtake and then the released cars had to overtake.

“I think you could have done at least one race lap there. Most likely two.”

The driving behavior of Monza’s Safety Car has reignited debate over what happened in Abu Dhabi last year, when the FIA ​​modified its own rules to ensure the race didn’t end cautiously.

That led to an internal FIA investigation and the removal of then F1 race director Michael Masi, with a new structure being put in place.

Asked if he felt the FIA ​​had made any real progress since Abu Dhabi, Horner said: “I think it’s all a process and there’s been a huge change in the public.”

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The events at Monza come ahead of a Monday meeting between FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 team manager to discuss aspects of the sport on the track.

Horner has no doubts that the issue of the safety car will become a priority in the discussion.

“The president also gets involved in that, to talk about certain aspects,” he said. “I’m sure this will be at the top of the agenda now.

“It’s to try to get a lot of problems on the table. But we have to avoid scenarios like we had at the end of the race.”

When asked whether a rule enforcing a red flag, if a warning period is late, would be a step forward to prevent the safety car from finishing if something goes wrong, Horner said: “I think it’s better to do good in the first place.”