F1 »

Horner: F1 is 'worse than Eastenders'

F1 has a lot of tidying up to do if it is to re-establish its reputation after degenerating to such an extent that it is now 'worse than Eastenders' with its succession of high-profile, tabloid-fodder scandals – that is the opinion of Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner.

Following hot on the heels of the McLaren spying saga two years ago, FIA President Max Mosley's News of the World sex éxposé, reigning F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton lying to race stewards in Melbourne earlier this year and the damaging FIA/FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) civil war over spending and leadership that threatened to tear the top flight quite literally in two and spawn a breakaway series during the summer, the Renault 'Singapore-gate' controversy recently shot the sport right back into the headlines again – for all the wrong reasons.

The latest incident has cost the jobs – and quite possibly careers – of disgraced former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore and executive director of engineering Pat Symonds, as well as almost certainly finishing whistleblower Nelsinho Piquet as an F1 driver and leading to the French manufacturer itself narrowly escaping serious punishment at the hands of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris last week.

The WMSC instead handed down a two-year suspended ban for race-fixing to the Enstone-based outfit, after Briatore and Symonds were found guilty of having instructed Piquet to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in order to enable team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in the top flight's inaugural night race from a disadvantaged grid slot. Horner is adamant that F1 needs to clean up its act, and fast.

“It's a great shame F1 is being dragged through the mud again,” the Englishman – a former racer himself – is quoted as having said by the Daily Record. “Flavio is a personal friend and I have sympathy for the way he has been forced to leave, but obviously I don't condone the actions.

“I'm surprised Piquet wasn't punished. The guy driving the car had the ability to say no. The general consensus in the paddock is that it's quite surprising the driver walked away with nothing.

“It's a distraction, but part of F1 I guess. We're worse than Eastenders right now. We need to get the focus back to the racing.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Christian Horner (GBR) Team Red Bull F1, Team Boss  Australian Formula One Grand Prix, 01-02/04/06, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
John Watson driving the McLaren MP4B at the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Las Vegas
Guy Moll at the 1934 Grand Prix Automobile de Montreux   [pic credit:Agence de presse Meurisse/Bibliothèque nationale de France]
2014 FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon is to test with Lotus F1
12.10.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, the start
12.10.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
12.10.2014- Vitaly Mutko (RUS) Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates Manufactor title of Mercedes with the team
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014-  Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 with a fan
12.10.2014- Fabiana Flosi (BRA)
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
12.10.2014- Max Chilton (GBR), Marussia F1 Team MR03 and all the Marussia F1 Team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


September 30, 2009 11:50 AM

I disagree, Fred. Christian Horner IS doing something about the image of F1, and he has been for some time. His team is open, friendly, (apparently) honest, and pretty good fun. That is miles away from the oh-too-cool image of Ferrari or the obsesive-compulsive-disorder image of McLaren. Remember when Horner lept into the pool at Monaco in nothing but a Superman cape? You don't get that in Eastenders. (although maybe Britain's Got Talent or Total Wipeout...)

© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.