Awkward exchange for Horner and Ben Sulayem at FIA awards


Red Bull team principal Christian Horner accepted the constructors championship trophy at the FIA's prize giving ceremony in Bologna on Friday, and dedicated it to the memory of team founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Mateschitz launched the Red Bull energy drink business in the 1980s, and used sporting sponsorship as a main element of the brand's marketing strategy - culminating in acquiring the former Jaguar team in 2004.

The team swept to four consecutive world championships with Sebastian Vettel, but hasn't won the constructors crown since 2013 until this year which saw them back in imperious form.

But just days after Max Verstappen's win in Japan sealed the 2022 drivers title, Mateschitz passed away in October aged 78.

"I’d like to dedicate this this championship, this trophy, to a very special man that has done so much for motorsports and done so much for Formula 1," Horner told the attendees.

“He was a fan of motorsport, foremost and utmost. He gave so many drivers in the room tonight an opportunity in so many categories.

"I’ve watched a lot of videos, and I think on all of those videos across all of these different championships, we’ve seen the Red Bull logo on so many cars in so many championships.

"He gave thousands of engineers and technicians, mechanics and I think arguably has done more for motorsport than any other person in history. So tonight, I’d like to dedicate this to Dietrich Mateschitz.

“Thankfully he saw Max win the championship in Japan, even though there was a bit of confusion over the points there," he said. "But thankfully Max won it early and he saw it.

“And then the next weekend, the day after he passed, we managed to win this trophy, so it’s it’s a very special one.”

Horner's comment about the 'confusion' in Japan, where teams had been expecting half points due to a curtailed event which would have left Verstappen short of the total he needed, drew a response from FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

A strict reading of new rules introduced at the start of 2022 meant full points were awarded instead, wrapping up the title battle with four races remaining. But Ben Sulayem did not take kindly to the comment.

“Japan you said was controversial,” he told Horner in his response to the latter's remarks. “No. The FIA was blamed for the points but it was not the FIA which made the rules."

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali stepped in at this point, saying: “Okay guys, let’s stay focused.”

Earlier, Ben Sulayem had also made a joking reference to Red Bull's penalty for breaching the new cost cap on team budgets which incurred a $7m fine and deduction of aerodynamic testing time while presenting the trophy.

"Christian, this cup has nothing to do with the cost cap. This is from the FIA, so we are not going to deduct it from your cost cap!”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter