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2018 F1

Horner: Mercedes threw a key team member “under the bus” during Austrian GP

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Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner says Mercedes threw a key team member “under the bus” during last week’s Austrian grand prix.

With Lewis Hamilton complaining about a bungled strategy, strategist James Vowles went onto the radio to issue a grovelling apology.

Horner says it was a “bizarre” mid-race incident.

“It seems a fairly bizarre thing for somebody to feel they need to do — to throw themselves under the bus to motivate a driver to go from fourth back into the lead,” he told the Sun.

“Our philosophy is collective responsibility rather than individual. There has to be accountability, but that is dealt with in the right environment behind closed doors and not in a public forum,” added Horner.

Horner said he thinks the main issue is Mercedes struggling to adapt to life now that Ferrari and Red Bull are fully competitive.

“It becomes very easy to become complacent and then it is an adjustment,” he said.

Talking in Mercedes’s Pure Pit Wall post-race examine, Allison explained that Vowles’s radio messages were a sign of team strength rather than weakness.

“In this particular instance it was James showing an extremely broad pair of shoulders, standing up and saying ‘that was my mistake Lewis’ and I am sorry for it,” he said.

“It was very characteristic of James, but also a measure of how this team operates – where people will hold up their hand when they have made a mistake, knowing that the team’s attitude to mistakes is that they are things that we learn from, rather than things that we throw blame around for or cause great polemics within the team.

“So it was a very good example of strong leadership by James trying to explain to Lewis what had happened.

“And the importance of that message meant that James wanted to give it personally rather than pass it through the intermediary of the race engineer.”

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