F1 Gossip: Mercedes ‘bullying’ influenced Masi’s exit - Horner

In the latest Formula 1 gossip column, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has accused Mercedes of ‘bullying’ behaviour which led to the exit of former race director Michael Masi.
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference.
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal in the FIA Press…
© FIA Pool Image for Editorial Use

- In an interview with the BBC, Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner once again questioned the FIA’s decision to replace Michael Masi.

“Was it right to fire him based on pressure that was placed on him from a rival team? That for me was wrong,” Horner said.

“That's tantamount to bullying. It's passively aggressive.”

In the same interview, Horner expanded on his previous ‘bullying comments’.

“We were on the receiving end of many of Michael's errors,” Horner added. “But he is in a high-pressure role in a high-pressure sport. But what it is unforgivable is the trolling, the abuse online, the death threats that he and his family had. That absolutely cannot be condoned in any way.

“That has nothing to do with the sport. It's just out-and-out bullying and I would not accept that in any way within our organisation. That's why I spoke up for Michael because I felt that he had not had any support. He had not had any backing. That he'd been hung out to dry and that there was this concerted campaign that was very passive-aggressively focused against him.

“I will always stand up for someone who is being bullied. Bullying is not acceptable.”

- Toto Wolff says Mercedes doesn’t regret celebrating the 2021 British Grand Prix while Max Verstappen was in hospital after a race-ending crash with Lewis Hamilton.

He told Sky Sports: “There wasn’t a lot of feeling of remorse on our side, because Lewis has given up corners much more often before where he shouldn’t have.

“If you’re sitting in the hospital shaken by a big impact, you’re not going to understand that the other team is cheering for their driver. But it was [Lewis Hamilton’s] home race, a massive swing to our advantage in terms of points, and we knew that Max was OK.”

- Red Bull and Mercedes are set to bring significant upgrades to the second test in Bahrain. McLaren is expected to bring some new parts as well. (AMuS)

- Pietro Fittipaldi, F2 driver Jehan Daruvala, and Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri are in the running to replace Nikita Mazepin at Haas. (BBC)

- Williams boss Jost Capito says Jamie Chadwick needs to step up into F3 and F2 in the near future.

“It’s up to her how she develops her career. We support her path,” he said as reported by Motorsport-Total.com. “I think she had a few options and if she wants to continue racing in the W Series, that’s her choice.

“If you still have Formula 1 as your goal, then you have to go through Formula 3 and Formula 2 at some point.”

- Pirelli has announced the tyre compound allocations for the opening three races of the season.

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