Christian Horner believes F1 fans will forget what happened at end of 2021 season

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes people’s “short memories” will mean fans will forget the controversial ending to the 2021 season.

Max Verstappen won his first world championship after race director Michael Masi made some questionable calls. Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton headed into the final race on equal points and the British star had led for the majority of the race. However, Nicholas Latifi crashed with a few laps to go which deployed the safety car.

Masi ruled the race could be finished but that some cars could unlap and others couldn’t. This meant Verstappen was right behind Hamilton on fresh tyres as he overtook him to claim the title. The controversial conclusion to the race is still being discussed among fans but Horner insists it will soon be ancient history.

“People in this business have such very short memories,” said Horner, quoted by GPFans. “We’ve even forgotten what happened [earlier in the year]. It was such a long racing season.

“Max is absolutely a deserving world champion. When you look at the championship as a whole, of course, the events in Abu Dhabi drew an awful lot of comment but that happens in sport.

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“We had a lot of bad luck last year, we got fortunate with a safety car, we made the right strategic calls, great strategy, great teamwork and great execution by Max, and we won the race.

“Time will move on. Max is a very deserving world champion, we are incredibly proud of that, and the history books will always show he is the 2021 world champion.”

Mercedes did lodge protests but they were dismissed and the team decided to withdraw its official appeal. It made Verstappen the confirmed champion and the Dutchman backed up his boss saying controversy is part of the sport.

He said: “Even with championships won 30 years ago or whatever, there has also been controversy. Nowadays, when people look back at the footage they enjoy it. It’s just part of the sport.”

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