Red Bull's Christian Horner has made a dig against current FIA Race Director Michael Masi, after saying that Formula 1 could have done with Charlie Whiting at the helm of Race Control at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Whiting was Masi's predecessor and served as the FIA's Race Director and Safety Delegate on a full-time basis from 1997 until his untimely death at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, after suffering a pulmonary embolism.
With Masi now in his third season in the role, his experience is considerably less than Whiting's was, and Horner felt that this extra wisdom was needed to adjudicate the chaotic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Horner made the comments after his driver Max Verstappen was given two separate time penalties for driving incidents in the race, pointing out that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton escaped scrutiny for other apparent breaches.
"I've said for too long that we're over-regulated, and then the referee... there's rules about 10 car lengths, when a formation lap isn't a formation lap, if it's a restart... it feels that there are too many rules," Horner sighed when speaking with media, including RacingNews365.com, after the race.
"Today the sport missed Charlie Whiting"
While Verstappen was given the two time penalties, Mercedes appeared to escape the attention of the stewards for two other incidents.
Valtteri Bottas stacked the field up behind the Safety Car, before Lewis Hamilton seemingly fell more than 10 car lengths behind Verstappen on the formation lap - both incidents being pointed out by Red Bull and Verstappen on team radio.
With Hamilton having also run wide at Turn 1 as he battled with Verstappen in the incident that resulted in the Red Bull driver's time penalty, Horner admitted he felt decisions had all gone against them.
"It felt like today, the sport missed Charlie Whiting. I'm sorry to say but, the experience that he had... it's obviously frustrating," Horner said.
Appearing to reflect on how this comment might come across in his opinion of Masi's abilities, Horner softened his stance immediately.
"But it's difficult for Michael [Masi] and the stewards, particularly this type of venue and circuit, with the amount of debris and types of corner... it's the same for everybody.
"Obviously, pretty much every decision went against us today, as they did in Doha a couple of weeks ago. Then we saw two incidents yesterday... it's been variable to say the least."
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