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today is Jan 23, 2022

Not a single Red Bull staff member would trade Max Verstappen’s drivers’ championship for the constructors’ title, according to team principal Christian Horner.

Verstappen became Red Bull’s second world champion after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend, but the team lost the constructors’ crown to rivals Mercedes.

Speaking at the FIA prizegiving gala in Paris where his driver formally received his championship trophy, Horner said missing out on the financial bonus of winning the constructors’ championship was of little concern to his team.

“The constructors is where the money is,” said Horner. “That is where the revenues that come into the sport are distributed based on your performance in the championship. And I think every employee within our team, probably most of the teams, is rewarded on where they are in the constructors championship as opposed to the drivers.

“Now the drivers’ [championship] obviously has the popularity and it has the prestige. I don’t think there’s a single employee within our business that would have traded a first place in the constructors for this drivers championship. Everybody – when you see the reaction that Max had when he visited the factory yesterday – is so proud of what he’s achieved. The prestige of the drivers world championship – that’s the big one. That’s the one that you really want. And that’s why it meant so much achieving that on Sunday evening.”

Verstappen received his prize from the FIA free from any concerns about Mercedes contesting the results of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after they announced they would not pursue an appeal earlier in the day.

Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, claimed his driver, Lewis Hamilton was “robbed” of his eighth title by FIA F1 race director Michael Masi after a late safety car restart to the race during which only a select number of lapped cars were permitted to overtake the leader.

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Horner says that Red Bull were confident that Mercedes’ threats to appeal would not amount to anything and that both Verstappen and Red Bull also had reasons to feel aggrieved by decisions made against them this season.

“We didn’t really feel that there was the grounds for a threat,” said Horner. “We obviously were in front of the stewards for quite a while and there was a great deal of discussion over what happened. But safety cars are usual in Formula 1. We’ve seen it throughout this season.

“The determination of the race director is always to get the race going again. That’s been a clear mandate for many, many years now. So a lot was made of it. But that’s the way it is.”

Red Bull “had so many decisions go against us” during the season, including earlier in the Yas Marina race, said Horner. “We felt some of those decisions in Saudi had gone against us.

“We felt that we’d had bad luck, for example, in Imola. Lewis is in the gravel trap, out of the race, a lap down and his team-mate crashes with a Williams and he gets the lap back and he’s second on the grid and he finishes second.

“The crash at Silverstone – a red flag, he gets a penalty, but he still wins the race with the fastest lap. So we felt that many things have gone against us this year, but things have a habit of working themselves out and balancing themselves over the course of the year.”

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2021 F1 season

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  • Call F1’s championship finale tainted, but not its deserving new champion
  • Why Mercedes believe they would have won an appeal but still lost the title
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