Christian Horner ditches plans and flies back to UK to ‘take charge’ of Red Bull defence


Christian Horner has unexpectedly jetted back from Abu Dhabi to oversee Red Bull’s “robust defence” ahead of a Mercedes legal bid in the wake of Max Verstappen’s title win

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Miracle of Yas Marina for Max Verstappen as he prevails in world title shoot-out

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has jetted back to the UK to oversee preparations for a potential legal battle with Mercedes over Max Verstappen ‘s controversial Formula One title win.

Verstappen pipped title rival Lewis Hamilton to win his maiden world title in a frantic finale to Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But his triumph was laced with controversy after FIA race director Michael Masi reversed an earlier decision and allowed certain drivers to lap the safety car – setting up a final lap shootout between Verstappen and Hamilton for the title.

Mercedes immediately launched two official protests after the race.

And although they were knocked back, Hamilton’s team, led by an incensed Toto Wolff, have already indicated their intent to take the matter further.

Do you think the FIA made the correct decision in Sunday’s finale? Have your say in the comments section.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has flown back to the UK to prepare for further action from Mercedes
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That’s led to Horner cutting short his celebrations in Abu Dhabi to fly back to the UK to prepare Red Bull’s “robust defence” against Mercedes challenge.

Presenter Craig Slater informed Sky Sports on Monday morning that Horner had cancelled a planned interview in Abu Dhabi to jet back home.

It has been claimed that Horner returned to the UK on Monday to prepare for Red Bull’s “robust defence” of their title won by their Dutch superstar.

Slater also revealed that Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, the co-founder of Red Bull, has thrown his support behind Horner and any potential defence of Verstappen’s title.

Mercedes lodged an intention to appeal on Sunday night, a process that gives them 96 hours to gather and submit their evidence to the FIA in the hope of overturning the decision.

Horner had previously warned Mercedes that his team wouldn’t shirk a legal battle if they attempted to take the matter further after their initial protests were dismissed on Sunday night.

And he was adamant that the stewards made the right call despite the anger from Red Bull’s racing rivals.

Toto Wolff was left raging with the result and his Mercedes team looks set to take the matter further
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“It obviously felt a little bit desperate but we didn’t want it to finish in front of the stewards,” he said defiantly.

“We never wanted to end up in front of the stewards, there was obviously a lot of debate before the race.

“As it turns out it was obviously very different after the race, we don’t go racing with barristers and so on – it was a shame it ended up there but the stewards made the right call.

Max Verstappen captured his maiden F1 title after a thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
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“We have talked about ‘let them race’, Niki Lauda was the guy who pushed hard for it and we’ve always talked about not finishing racing under safety cars – the race director in difficult circumstances made absolutely the right call and strategically we got it right.

“If they appeal, they appeal. We’ll fight them in the appeal court and then in the legal court after that if they were to go that route.”

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