BREAKING NEWS: Mercedes ditch appeal over Abu Dhabi race result, congratulate Verstappen

By Sports Desk December 16, 2021

Mercedes have withdrawn their appeal against the result of Sunday's contentious Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that saw Max Verstappen pip Lewis Hamilton to the Formula One drivers' title.

Hamilton had built up a healthy lead over his Red Bull rival in the season finale, with both men having entered the race level on points, until a controversial late safety car period was followed by Verstappen overtaking the Mercedes driver on the final lap.

The German constructors launched two challenges that were both rejected by the FIA, with Mercedes giving notice of an intention to appeal against the decisions.

However, the team said in a statement they will not proceed down that route following discussions with F1 and governing body the FIA.

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  • Red Bull ‘united’ amid claim it could be ‘torn apart’ if Christian Horner stays Red Bull ‘united’ amid claim it could be ‘torn apart’ if Christian Horner stays

    Formula One’s crisis-hit Red Bull team insists it remains “united” after Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, claimed it is “in danger of being torn apart” if Christian Horner remains in his role.

    A defiant Horner has said he is “absolutely confident” he will stay on as Red Bull boss for the remainder of the season after overseeing Verstappen lead a one-two finish from team-mate Sergio Perez at the opening round in Bahrain.

    Horner has faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks following allegations against him made by a female colleague. Horner has always denied the claims.

    But speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper following Saturday’s 57-lap race, Verstappen Snr added further fuel to the fire when he said: “There is tension here while he (Horner) remains in position.

    “The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.”

    Responding to Verstappen Snr’s comments, a Red Bull Racing spokesperson told the PA news agency on Sunday: “There are no issues here. The team are united and we are focused on racing.”

    During an extraordinary week in Bahrain, Horner was exonerated by Red Bull Racing’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH, following an internal probe into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour”.

    But hundreds of WhatsApp messages, appearing to be exchanged between Horner and the complainant, were then leaked to the F1 world.

    Verstappen Snr, who is not an employee of Red Bull Racing, has been accused in some quarters of attempting to oust Horner from his job.

    But the 51-year-old father of Red Bull’s three-time world champion continued: “That wouldn’t make sense. Why would I do that when Max is doing so well here?”

    Horner strode hand-in-hand with wife Geri in the paddock one hour and 45 minutes before Saturday’s race.

    Red Bull’s majority shareholder, Thai billionaire Chalerm Yoovidhya, also joined the duo on the team’s terrace in a public show of support for Horner.

    Speaking after the chequered flag had fallen, Horner was asked if he is confident he will stay on as Red Bull team principal for the rest of the season. He replied: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

    He continued: “I have the support of an incredible family, an incredible wife, an incredible team and everybody within that team.

    “And my focus is on going racing, winning races, and doing the best I can.

    “It was a day about starting the season in the best possible way. My focus is on this team, my family, my wife and racing.”

    Horner was also quizzed about the leaked Google file which was sent from an anonymous email account to 149 members of the F1 paddock – including FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and the grid’s nine other team principals, as well as members of the media.

    “I am not going to comment on anonymous speculative messages from an unknown source,” Horner said. “I am not going to comment on what motives whatever person may have for doing this.

    “Obviously, it has not been pleasant with some of the unwanted attention, but the focus is very much on the cars and my focus has been on what is happening on track and the result (on Saturday) demonstrates where the focus is and we move onwards.

    “There was a full, lengthy internal process that was completed by an independent KC and the grievance that was raised was dismissed. End of. Move on.”

    Horner is set to be back in the spotlight on Thursday when the cars hit the track in practice for the next round in Saudi Arabia.

  • Jos Verstappen warns Red Bull risks being ‘torn apart’ if Christian Horner stays Jos Verstappen warns Red Bull risks being ‘torn apart’ if Christian Horner stays

    Christian Horner’s leadership has been cast into fresh doubt after Max Verstappen’s father, Jos, claimed Red Bull is “in danger of being torn apart” if the under-fire team principal remains in his role.

    A defiant Horner said on Saturday night that he is “absolutely confident” he will stay on as Red Bull boss for the remainder of the Formula One season after overseeing Verstappen lead a one-two finish from team-mate Sergio Perez at the opening round in Bahrain.

    Horner’s job has faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks following allegations against him made by a female colleague. Horner has always denied the claims.

    But speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, Verstappen Snr added further fuel to the fire when he said: “There is tension here while he (Horner) remains in position.

    “The team is in danger of being torn apart. It can’t go on the way it is. It will explode. He is playing the victim, when he is the one causing the problems.”

    During an extraordinary week in Bahrain, Horner was exonerated by Red Bull Racing parent’s company, Red Bull GmbH, following an internal probe into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour”.

    But hundreds of WhatsApp messages, appearing to be exchanged between Horner and the complainant, were then leaked to the F1 world.

    Verstappen Snr has been accused in some quarters of attempting to oust Horner from his job.

    But the 51-year-old father of Red Bull’s three-time world champion continued: “That wouldn’t make sense. Why would I do that when Max is doing so well here?”

    The PA news agency has approached Red Bull Racing for comment.

    Horner strode hand-in-hand with wife Geri in the paddock one hour and 45 minutes before Saturday’s race.

    Red Bull’s majority shareholder, Thai billionaire Chalerm Yoovidhya, also joined the duo on the team’s terrace in a public show of support for Horner.

    Speaking after the chequered flag had fallen, Horner was asked if he is confident he will stay on as Red Bull team principal for the rest of the season. He replied: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

    He continued: “I have the support of an incredible family, an incredible wife, an incredible team and everybody within that team.

    “And my focus is on going racing, winning races, and doing the best I can.

    “It was a day about starting the season in the best possible way. My focus is on this team, my family, my wife and racing.”

    Horner was also quizzed about the leaked Google file which was sent from an anonymous email account to 149 members of the F1 paddock – including FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem, F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali and the grid’s nine other team principals, as well as members of the media.

    Horner said: “I am not going to comment on anonymous speculative messages from an unknown source. I am not going to comment on what motives whatever person may have for doing this.

    “Obviously, it has not been pleasant with some of the unwanted attention, but the focus is very much on the cars and my focus has been on what is happening on track and the result today demonstrates where the focus is and we move onwards.

    “There was a full, lengthy internal process that was completed by an independent KC and the grievance that was raised was dismissed. End of. Move on.”

    Horner is set to be back in the spotlight in just four days when the cars hit the track in practice for the next round in Saudi Arabia.

  • Wolff urges F1 authorities to ‘set the compass right’ amid Horner controversy Wolff urges F1 authorities to ‘set the compass right’ amid Horner controversy

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has urged Formula One and its governing body to “set the compass right” amid continued controversy surrounding Christian Horner.

    Horner was earlier this week cleared to continue as Red Bull team principal following an internal probe into “inappropriate behaviour” towards a female colleague.

    But the 50-year-old faced subsequent scrutiny after a series of leaked WhatsApp messages –  appearing to be exchanged between him and his complainant – were leaked to all the major players in the sport.

    FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem told the Financial Times on Friday that the turmoil is “damaging the sport on a human level”. F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali has not commented on the matter.

    Earlier this week, Wolff called for greater transparency from Red Bull Racing’s parent company, Red Bull GmbH, who conducted the investigation.

    The Austrian corporation said it was confident the inquiry into Horner had been “fair, rigorous and impartial” and added that the report – understood to stretch to 150 pages – is “confidential”. Horner has always denied the claims.

    “Let’s see where it goes in the next days,” said Wolff on Saturday night. “I would very much hope that the governing body, the sanctioning body and the commercial rights’ holder sets the compass right.

    “But the moment I start to continue to question how this has been handled, I am probably not doing any good to the whole issue, because then it could be seen as this just being about a power fight within F1.

    “That’s why I think it’s not in the team’s hands. It’s a much bigger topic than that and I don’t want to diminish the whole situation by making it seem like the Mercedes guy is talking about the Red Bull guys.”

    Wolff was speaking after a disappointing opening race of the season for his Mercedes team at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    George Russell started third and finished fifth – 47 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen – with Lewis Hamilton taking the chequered flag in seventh, 50 sec adrift.

    Wolff continued: “Max is in a different league, a different galaxy. We just have to acknowledge his performance levels.

    “But I believe that the group of Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes were probably in a similar ballpark. We just need to look at ourselves, get on top of our problems and if we are able to manage our race weekend better, we will be racing those guys.”

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