JULY 23, 2012
Horner looks back on controversial Hockenheim
After a race in which FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer reported Red Bull Racing to the stewards, albeit without further action being taken, and Sebastian Vettel labeled Lewis Hamilton "a bit stupid" before himself being given a retrospective Drive Through penalty costing him three places, team principal Christian Horner gave his assessment of the German GP.
Q: Two visits to the stewards in one day. Are you F1's bad boys?
Unfortunately, when you have a quick car it's inevitable that questions are asked. We were called to the stewards to have a talk about some technicalities on the car. The rules are pretty black and white and having listened and looked at the evidence and data, they were fully satisfied. Other teams are always going to speculate.
Q: But the stewards' statement suggested they weren't fully satisfied?
Is there a spirit of the regulations issue?
There's no clause in the regulations that refers to the spirit. Renault made their case very clearly and the stewards listened to the discussion and looked at the evidence, not just of this race but all the races from this year. The regulation, in fairness, is trying to deal with something that is complex issue and our car was in full compliance.
Q: Do you anticipate any type of rule clarification or technical directive that may cause you to change what you are doing in these areas?
I'm sure there's going to be debate about it. There's conveniently a Monday (July 23) technical working group meeting and I'm sure this will go onto the agenda. There could well be further technical directives designed to further clarify those regulations.
Q: What was the difference between you and Ferrari in Germany?
I think just track position. It was nip and tuck between the three guys: Fernando, Sebastian and Jenson were all evenly matched and different cars at different times showed flashes of pace. Track position was critical and Fernando made that work, didn't make any mistakes and drove a well-executed race.
Q: Lewis got ahead of Seb at an awkward time? Without that, could he have got close enough to try the undercut on Fernando?
We probably dropped about a second when Lewis unlapped himself, which was obviously frustrating when you are fighting over tenths and hundredths but that's the way it is. That was enough time to drop us behind Jenson as well.
Q: Was Lewis to blame, should he have kept out of the way?
I don't think there's anything to say that a car can't unlap itself. What was frustrating for us was that it cost us a second and unfortunately for us Lewis didn't unlap himself from Fernando as well. If Fernando had lost a second as well it would have been negated.
Q: So was Sebastian a little unwise to describe Lewis as 'a bit stupid.'
Drivers' emotions run high. When you lap a car it doesn't normally drive back past you. I think it was an unusual situation with Lewis on fresh tyres and a lap down. In Sebastian's opinion it affected his race and it's frustrating for him if it doesn't affect two people's races identically. But within the rules Lewis did nothing wrong and arguably he helped his team mate.
Q: Why was Mark Webber's car off Sebastian's pace?
Mark wasn't happy with the balance of his car on the harder tyres. On the soft tyres he looked in reasonable shape and I think the lack of running on Friday definitely compromised him. He didn't seem as comfortable as Sebastian with the balance.
Q: Fernando and Ferrari are looking formidable. How do you see the second half of the season panning out?
It's going to be full-on with a lot of good racing. Fernando has finished all the races in the points, has won three now and has a 34 -point lead, but that isn't insurmountable with 25 points for a win. It's important that we get both of our guys regularly beating him and we've got an opportunity hopefully next weekend in Hungary. But he's driving incredibly well and has hit a purple patch of form.
Q: Do you still see McLaren as a factor in the championship?
For sure, I don't think you can write off anybody in this championship. People were saying that Jenson's had a bad run but he drove a great race at Hockenheim. It would be unwise to write off any of the top six guys. Things can change rapidly and it only takes a couple of DNFs for Fernando or any of the front guys and the picture changes very quickly.