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Christian Horner's F1 Engine Complaints Make Him Sound Like a Sore Loser

Matthew Walthert@@MatthewWalthertFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2015

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Remember that time back in 2013 when Red Bull team principal Christian Horner talked about how his team's fourth-straight Formula One drivers' and constructors' titles were turning fans off and how closer competition was needed?

Of course you don't—because it never happened. Horner was quite happy when Sebastian Vettel won the final nine races of the 2013 season, even as fans heckled him on the podium.

But now that Red Bull have had one down year—they only won three races and finished second in the constructors' standings in 2014—Horner is suddenly very worried about one team being too far ahead of the others.

The reason he is complaining now is because the team with the big advantage is Mercedes, not Red Bull.

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"I think it’s important we have good racing and obviously the closer the field is, the better the racing will be. I think that’s the most fundamental thing that fans appreciate," Horner told City A.M.'s Frank Dalleres this week.

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"The power unit at the moment is a big performance differentiator," he continued. "I think the gap between the best and the worst needs to be reduced, and that will automatically create closer racing."

We already know Horner's preferred solution: Go back to the old V8 engines. You know, the ones Red Bull won four straight championships with. Although Horner admitted that was unlikely to happen, he told Autosport's Jonathan Noble it was the most rational solution.

Never mind the fact that the hybrid V6 engines introduced last year were a huge leap forward technologically and were more applicable to future road-car technology, helping entice Honda to return to F1.

Renault's Cyril Abiteboul with Christian Horner.
Renault's Cyril Abiteboul with Christian Horner.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Also never mind that it was Renault—Red Bull's engine supplier—that threatened to quit F1 in 2011 if the new V6 engine regulations were not adopted, per the BBC's Andrew Benson.

Forget all that.

Horner would rather scrap the thousands of hours and millions of dollars the engine manufacturers and the teams have put into the more environmentally friendly V6 engines and travel back in time to that magical 2013 season (the second half, anyway) when Red Bull were nearly unbeatable.

Given Horner's complaints, you might think that he is just a sore loser. His complaints about the engines only once it became apparent Mercedes' was so much better certainly make him sound that way.

Lewis Hamilton suffers a tyre failure at the 2013 British Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton suffers a tyre failure at the 2013 British Grand Prix.Lars Baron/Getty Images

But Horner also complains when he is winning. In 2013, with Vettel and Red Bull sitting atop the standings for nearly the entire season, Horner spent the early part of the season complaining about Pirelli's tyres. After several high-speed blow-outs at the British Grand Prix, Red Bull finally got the change they wanted and proceeded to win the last nine races of the season.

In the end, you can't really blame Horner. He is paid a lot of money to deliver a winning team and he is obviously willing to play every card in his hand in pursuit of that goal.

But nobody wins all the time and, when Horner does lose—particularly after four years of nothing but winning—is it too much to ask for him to do it with a little grace?

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