Horner was dragged in by FIA officials following his criticism of a trackside marshal in Doha, who he described as ‘rogue’ after Max Verstappen was penalised for not slowing down for double-waved yellow flags during qualifying.
The penalty for Verstappen was a five-grid penalty on race day, whilst title rival Lewis Hamilton began in pole position.
And, the seven-time world champion went on to secure victory in the inaugural race in the Qatar capital, to move within eight points of the Dutchman who managed to battle his way to a second-place finish.
As a result, Horner slammed the marshal in an interview with Sky Sports F1, claiming that the person in question caused a ‘crucial blow’ in the nail-biting Formula 1 title race.
Horner said: “It’s a rogue marshal that stuck out a flag out. He wasn’t told to do so. This is a crucial blow in the world championship.”
These words then landed the Red Bull boss into hot water with FIA officials, as he was reprimanded for his actions whilst offering an apology, and agreeing to participate in the 2022 FIA International Stewards Programme as a result.
Following the race in the Middle East, Horner was asked if he regretted his words against the marshal to which he replied: “Not at all, I believe in my team.
“I’m a straight-talker and have always conducted myself in that manner.
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“I’m not an overly-emotional person, I don’t rant at camera and I think the way I have conducted myself, I have no issues with it and would do exactly the same.”
As the enthralling 2021 season nears its conclusion, the pressure continues to rise on both Mercedes and Red Bull, with both the constructor and driver standings extremely tight.
As the competition intensifies on the track, it has no doubt followed suit off it as Horner has continued to clash with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
Most recently the 48-year-old admitted he had ‘no relationship’ with Wolff after commenting: “There is no relationship. There is a competition.”
The feud escalated ahead of last Sunday’s race after Mercedes appealed for action to be taken against Verstappen for his controversial driving at the Brazilian GP, after he appeared to rear Hamilton off the track.
XPB Images/PA Images)
As a result the Red Bull driver was acquitted for a second time – the first coming on in-race in Sao Paulo – however Mercedes’ decision to make the appeal left a sour taste in the mouth of Horner.
The Red Bull boss therefore claimed that he hoped the rest of the title race could be kept out on the track rather than in the stewards’ room.
He said: “We want a fair fight. It shouldn’t be done in a stewards room or court of appeal. It needs to be done on track. There is too much at stake. We just want to make sure the playing field is level.”