Indignant Horner says "all we do is focus on negatives" in conferences; Outburst followed a series of questions about controversial F1 races
Friday 1 August 2014 14:51, UK
An angry Christian Horner turned on the media for persistent negative questioning over Formula 1 in a fiery Friday press conference at the Hungarian GP.
In a slow-burning 40-minute team bosses’ news conference at the end of the same day in which Azerbaijan announced they would join the calendar from 2016, Red Bull chief Horner grew irritated with the line of questioning taken by the international media towards the six principals present.
After fielding a growing number of political questions surrounding F1’s trips to Russia in October and Azerbaijan in two years, along with the sport’s finances, Horner took issue with why the teams were being put on the spot over such issues when it was up to the FIA to decide where they race.
Becoming increasingly forthright during the course of his answer to one such question, Horner said: “This is becoming a very depressing press conference when we’re only focusing on the negativities.
“Look, there’s a calendar that comes out in October and November. We all have a choice whether we enter the World Championship or not. All the people sitting here are racers and they’re here because they are passionate about the sport and they want to compete.
“When we sign up for that championship we put our faith and trust in the promoter and the FIA and we will attend those races unless they deem it unnecessary for us to be there.
“All of you, or the vast majority of you [journalists], will be at those races. Why? You are either passionate about the sport or because you earn a living out of covering the sport and I think it’s wrong to make Formula 1 a political statement or subject when we’re a sport.”
Following a start to the 2014 season which was dominated by debate and criticism over F1’s new quieter engines and more energy-efficient technology, Horner’s Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff remarked at a recent team principals’ conference that he didn’t know of a sport which criticised itself as much as F1.
Adopting a similar theme, Horner argued that more attention should be focused on the recent quality of racing with the political controversies directed to the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone instead.
“We should be talking about the drivers in these conferences, we should be talking about the spectacular racing that happened between our drivers and his [Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci’s] driver at the last grand prix. We should be talking about what a great race it was for Lewis Hamilton to come through the grid, yet all we do is focus on the negatives.
“It has to be said it gets pretty boring for us to sit up here and field these questions off. So how about asking some questions about what’s going to happen in the race on Sunday, what’s going to happen in qualifying because if you’ve got these questions [about politics] please point them at Mr Todt or Mr Ecclestone rather than the teams.”
With the tension suitably raised in the room, Horner’s pointed request was immediately heeded as the next, and final, question of proceedings focused on the rather less contentious issue of race-day tyre wear at the Hungaroring.