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Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023

Horner's 'ludicrous' Baku criticism 'taken out of context'

Christian Horner had been left unimpressed by the decision to run a Sprint weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but has now clarified the comments.

Horner Australia Red Bull
To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has suggested comments made about the decision to host a Sprint race at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix were taken "out of context".

Formula 1 marks the first of six alternative weekends at the Baku City Circuit with teams faced with two qualifying sessions and two races after a shake-up to the Sprint format was passed through by the F1 Commission earlier in the week.

Horner led concerns over the format being used in the Azeri capital given the impact of damage on the budget cap, with another street circuit in Miami hosting the following round just a week later, labelling the decision as "absolutely ludicrous".

But speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the conclusion of the solitary practice session of the weekend, Horner explained: "I think my comments were taken a little bit out of context.

"What I said was it is completely mad to be doing a Sprint race here at this circuit, probably one of the most dangerous on the calendar from a team's point of view because the jeopardy, the damage that potentially is there with another street race next weekend.

"But from a fan's point of view, from an action point of view, it is going to be flat-out racing all weekend here. So I think there is going to be plenty of action and it is going to be about trying to navigate your way through it as seamlessly as you can."

Last chance

Red Bull ended practice first and third with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez separated by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Despite a lengthy red flag following Pierre Gasly's fire in the Alpine, the Milton Keynes-based outfit completed a rounded run-plan ahead of parc fermé being imposed.

"We got some data across two compounds of tyres, we have had a look at two variants of fuel loads," said Horner.

"It is now a matter of processing that data because this is the last chance for engineers and drivers to introduce a change before qualifying because the cars are essentially in lockdown."

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the last week in F1.

F1 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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