Christian Horner furious with FIA’s ‘absolutely ludicrous’ decision

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has made it clear that he doesn't support the decision.

Ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has hit out at the FIA for making the next round of the championship in Azerbaijan the first sprint race of the 2023 F1 season, a decision that Horner labelled as “absolutely ludicrous”.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has a reputation for being a car killer and one of the most expensive weekends of the season for all the teams, given just how many incidents take place at the Baku City Circuit.

Red Bull in particular know how much a crash at Baku can cost, with Verstappen having suffered a high-speed tyre failure in 2021.

Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo also both crashed at the venue in 2018.

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Due to so many crashes typically happening, the track has become a modern favourite amongst fans, with Horner believing that for those at home it will be “one of the most exciting” spectacles of the season.

From a team perspective, though, Horner is completely against having a sprint race in Azerbaijan, especially in the cost cap era.

“It’s absolutely ludicrous to be doing the first sprint race of the year in a street race like Azerbaijan,” Horner said during a pre-weekend press conference in Melbourne.

“From a spectacle point of view, from a fan point of view, it’s probably going to be one of the most exciting sprint races of the year.

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“But from a cost cap perspective, all you can do is trash your car. And it costs a lot of money around there. So one race is enough in Baku, the fact that we’ve got two, there could be well some action there.

“But that’s part of the challenge, and it’s part of the task that we’ve got. Hopefully, we can tidy up the format for the sprint races coming up, that they are a bit more dynamic.

“I know that the sporting directors have been working hard on that and hopefully we can get that finalised. A sprint race in Azerbaijan is something to be certainly wary of.”

On the other hand, McLaren CEO Zak Brown is seemingly looking forward to the first sprint weekend of the season despite the fact that there could be “some big crash damage bills”.

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The American has noted, though, that the situation is “the same for everyone” and that ultimately there is nothing they can do about it, apart from hope that all the cars finish safely.

“Baku creates some pretty exciting races and some big crash damage bills,” Brown said

“It’s the same for everyone, and it is what it is. It’ll be very exciting for the fans, and hopefully all the cars will come back the way they started.”