Horner completes stewards programme following ‘rogue marshal’ comment

Christian Horner blamed Max Verstappen's punishment for speeding under yellow flags last year on a "rogue marshal."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has completed two days of a stewards’ programme following comments he made about a marshal last year.

During the Qatar Grand Prix race weekend, AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly’s car stopped on the pit straight, necessitating a yellow flag.

Verstappen sped past the incident, and was thus given a five-place grid penalty for the race, as well as two penalty points.

This now means that he is five points away from a race ban until 12 September this year.

Horner was not at all impressed by the ruling, claiming that a “rogue marshal” had unnecessarily waved a yellow flag near Gasly’s stricken car in an interview with Sky Sports.

Sadly for the Briton this did not go unnoticed, and he was summoned to the stewards to clarify his comments that appeared to undermine the code against “any words, deeds or writings that have caused moral injury or loss to the FIA, its bodies, its members or its executive officers, and more generally on the interest of motor sport and on the values defended by the FIA.”

The 48-year-old later explained himself, conceding that his remark was made due to “pressure from the competition.”

The stewards were quick to remind Horner that the marshal’s actions were nothing untoward, and that he acted as per the rules of the sport during a situation in which a car is stopped on the track.

“The stewards explained that the marshal concerned was doing his job in precisely the manner prescribed in the International Sporting Code,” they ruled.

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It was then revealed that the Red Bull team boss had offered a hand of apology to the marshal, also pledging to participate in a stewarding programme this month.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.v1

“Mr Horner offered to apologise to the marshal concerned and to explain to the media that he meant no offence.

“He also offered to participate in the 2022 FIA International Stewards Programme in early February. The stewards unreservedly accept Mr Horner’s offer.”

Horner virtually attended the event in which stewards from around the globe exchanged experiences and learnings from their respective disciplines, ultimately helping each other adopt practises that will aid them in better performing their duties during events.

F1 stewards Garry Connelly and Tim Mayer appeared as speakers during the event, and Horner took part in a Q&A, during which he explained his job as a team principal and how an F1 team’s relationship with the FIA – the motorsport governing body – works.

Further, he was on a competitors’ panel discussing stewarding in the pinnacle of motorsport, which was led by race director Michael Masi.

Red Bull claimed the Drivers’ Championship through Max Verstappen last year, but Sergio Perez’s victory and five podiums were not sufficient to earn them their fifth constructors’ crown, with Mercedes instead winning their record eighth consecutive title.

The Milton Keynes-based squad are scheduled to reveal their 2022 car on 9 February.