Horner slams Lauda's 'unfair' Liberty criticism

Horner slams Lauda's 'unfair' Liberty criticism
By AutoSport

16/11/2017 at 14:19

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner thinks Niki Lauda has been "unfair" in his criticism of Liberty Media, amid ongoing disagreements about the future direction of Formula 1.

Lauda hit out at Liberty over the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend and he was "worried" for the championship's future because he had seen no evidence that the new owner was putting in place what F1 needed to become more successful.

His remarks came against the backdrop of a dispute over future engine rules, and concerns from some teams about an unprecedented fall in commercial rights income.

Horner defended Liberty and said he is fully behind its vision

"I think Niki's comments were... a little unfounded, unfair," said Horner, when asked by Autosport whether he agreed with Lauda's concerns.

"For once Formula 1 has recruited some specialists in Ross Brawn and the team he's put together. And it's doing proper analysis.

"Too many times there's been decisions made from the hip. And perhaps it's not going fast enough for Niki's liking, but I think the approach they are taking is the right approach.

"It's unfair to be giving them a hard time, when they're only nine months in and actually haven't presented their complete plan yet.

"It's inevitable that they're going to take time to understand the business, do the analysis, and then present what the future of Formula 1 is going to look like."

The drop in prize money in the last quarter, when it fell to $273 million - a 13% drop from last year's $316m - has alarmed some team chiefs.

But with the decrease caused by investments that Liberty has made to help improve F1, Horner says teams need to be patient and wait for bigger benefits in the future.

"I think that would have been the effect whether Liberty would've been there or not," he said of the prize money drop.

"It's circumstances. Obviously they're building an infrastructure, they're investing in the business, it's just a different model to what it used to be. It used to be a small structure with Bernie [Ecclestone] and a couple of aides.

"Now, they've put a marketing team together, they've put a proper business structure behind it - which is of course going to incur cost.

"But if you don't speculate and invest in the business, you're not going to accumulate.

"And the world is moving on quickly, and it's important that Formula 1 put that structure in place.

"Red Bull does not have any issues with what they're doing, their approach.

"And we're watching with interest to see what their plans are for 2021 onwards."