Christian Horner says that Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz was not concerned by the possibility of Max Verstappen's debut title being tarnished by the controversial circumstances in which it was decided.
Verstappen clinched his first F1 World Championship at the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a season-long battle with Lewis Hamilton. However, decisions made by race control during the final laps of the race have attracted much scrutiny, and the FIA are set to investigate what happened.
The controversy did not worry Mateschitz, though, according to Horner.
When asked in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com if Mateschitz was in any way upset by the prospect of the championship being "tarnished" by what happened, Horner explained: "No. I think there's been so much controversy throughout the year, [and] I think there's been so much bad luck that we've had during the season that these things tend to balance themselves out.
"He felt Max was very deserving. He was very proud of what he'd done and what the team had achieved."
Verstappen was "totally deserving" of title
When questioned on whether he would rather be second in a hotly-contested battle than finish first after completely dominating a season, Horner reiterated his belief that Verstappen deserved the title after suffering from some bad luck during the 2021 campaign.
"I think that it was such an epic year," Horner said.
"It was probably the most competitive season in Formula 1 in the last 30 years, and I think, for Red Bull, for Max, for Honda, to come out on top... Yes, we got a little bit lucky with the Safety Car at the end of the race, but so much bad luck [had] gone against us throughout the season.
"These things, I've always said, tend to balance themselves out over the course of a season, and I think Max, he led more than 50 percent of the laps in the year, more than every other driver combined.
"He had more pole positions, he had more race wins, and for me he was totally deserving."
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