Horner accepts defeat after protesting Mercedes steering system


Spielberg (Austria) (AFP)

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner on Saturday shrugged off his team’s failed protest at Mercedes’ innovative dual-axis steering (DAS) system and said he was satisfied to have clarity on the issue.

Red Bull lodged an official protest after second practice on Friday, but it was rejected by the governing International Motoring Federation (FIA) in a statement issued in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"We wanted to get clarity," said Horner.

"We wanted to protest at the earliest point of the weekend so it didn’t interrupt the race result. So it would be legal or illegal on Friday and so it would then give Mercedes a chance to rectify that either way for Saturday and Sunday."

"Having seen it on the car on Friday, we chose to use the avenue of a protest to achieve that clarity. We informed Mercedes prior to putting in the protest.”

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff had warned on Friday of the possible damage that a controversial protest could have on the image of the sport at the long-awaited first race of the year.

But Horner and Red Bull decided it was best to protest immediately. "Basically, the system is very, very complicated and it comes into question: what is a steering wheel for?" Horner told Sky Sports F1.

"The stewards obviously back the decision and so we have that clarity now. If we want one, we will have to design it and incorporate it."

Asked what the system is really used for, he added: “It’s for achieving balance shifts during tyre warm-up, particularly after Safety Car periods.

"In that respect, it has nothing to do with the steering of the car because they will only use it in a straight line, but that’s sometimes the ambiguity that these regulations create although it has been tidied up for next year.

"That’s why we questioned it and got that clarity late last night so, as far as we are concerned, it’s all closed now."