• Red Bull

Drivers must be free to race - Horner

ESPN Staff
July 8, 2014 « Gearbox issues raises concerns at Mercedes | Pirelli reveals images of low-profile tyres »

Christian Horner says it is a shame for F1 that Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel's battle for fifth at Silverstone was overshadowed by the drivers complaining to race control about the other exceeding track limits.

Alonso and Vettel's 14-lap duel in the latter part of the race was the stand-out moment of the British Grand Prix, with the two former world champions going wheel-to-wheel on numerous occasions through Brooklands, Luffield and Copse. However their battle was tainted somewhat by both taking to the radio to complain the other was gaining an advantage at various corners, something Horner does not think should detract from the spectacle.

"It was two guys going at it hammer and tong," Horner said. "It was great racing. The problem is they've introduced all these rules about circuit limits and they are both professionals; they are both going to be pointing out the area of the other.

"I think they were both on the limit. For me, it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. I think it would be wrong to penalise. Fernando was benefiting at Turn 9 and 18 constantly, which Sebastian was quick to point out, and Sebastian was doing everything he could to pass him.

"Charlie [Whiting] pointed out a couple times track limits to Seb and I'm sure it was pointed out - well, he got a warning flag, Alonso, which was for track limits. The problem is when you've got run off like that, and its quicker, drivers are going to want to abuse it."

Horner thinks the FIA and race steward Nigel Mansell deserve credit for letting Alonso and Vettel continue racing despite the complaints.

"We raised it to Charlie, I'm sure Ferrari were raising about Sebastian. I think the FIA and Nigel made the right decision and hats off for them to letting them race. think we've just made a move to allow a bit more freedom for the guys to race. The problem is there's got to be rules, but where's the line? You have to give the stewards a degree of freedom to make decisions."

Eventually Vettel emerged victorious; passing Alonso through Copse after the Spaniard had done the same to him at the start of the duel, something Horner believes the German should be praised for.

"At the end of the day it was great racing, Sebastian made a massive move. He made it stick and it was great racing, into Copse people don't realise how quick you're going down there. To make it stick into Copse was really impressive.

"It was on the limit, it was firm racing. Seb made his move stick and he was very, very brave. Fernando is the kind of driver you can go wheel-to-wheel with like that and he'll just about give you the space, but no more."