FIA Race Director Michael Masi has revealed that he personally referred Christian Horner to the stewards for a breach of the International Sporting Code, namely for misconduct towards personnel involved in the organisation and running of a Grand Prix.
This was due to Horner telling Sky Sports ahead of the race start that he believed a "rogue marshal" had been showing double waved yellow flags that were the catalyst behind Max Verstappen's five-place grid penalty.
Horner was given a formal warning by the stewards, with the Red Bull boss offering a public apology later on the same TV station.
Speaking after the verdict, Masi explained that he personally sent the issue before the stewards.
"Yes I did, it was a Race Director referral to the stewards," Masi confirmed to media in response to a question from RacingNews365.com.
Horner to attend stewards' seminar
Asked about how he encountered Horner's comments, given that they were aired in the minutes leading up to the start of the race, Masi said he had been made aware of them.
"Believe me, I can tell you that I don't have time to go and search social media in the lead-up to a race," he said.
"But I was advised of them and I referred Christian [to the stewards], and he was very apologetic for his comments. As part of that, obviously, the stewards' decision was very straightforward.
"Christian was apologetic, he didn't mean to offend anyone. The person in question who was actually waving the flag has been apologised to personally. And Christian, to his credit, has volunteered to come and be a part of the stewards' seminar in 2022."
Asked whether there was anything further to the verdict in the form of punishment, Masi said the warning was sufficient.
"The penalty is a warning, he gets exactly that - it's just a warning," added Masi.
"It's not acceptable"
With Masi responsible for overseeing the entire roster of the marshals at every Grand Prix, he explained that he took the matter to heart when one of 'his' people was attacked through the media.
"I think you should not attack any person," Masi emphasised.
"Particularly when we have thousands of volunteer marshals around the world that give up a huge amount of time globally.
"Without them, it won't happen. That's the part that a lot of people miss. And I will defend every volunteer official, and every official around every race track around the world, that that is not acceptable.
"He [the marshal] was acting, doing the best in their view, in the best interests of keeping everyone safe on the track, and I don't think anyone should be criticised for acting upon their instincts."
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