F1: The immediate aftermath of the race at Suzuka came amid confusion over whether the penalty for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was enough to secure Verstappen’s crown.
Many teams, including Red Bull themselves, shared the widespread view that new rules introduced after last year’s shambolic Belgian Grand Prix meant Verstappen would not be awarded full points for his win, as the race was 75%. It did not go beyond the distance.
However, F1’s strict interpretation of the Sporting Regulations meant that full points were awarded to the FIA, as the race was not suspended.
This meant that Verstappen was classified as champion, leaving him stunned immediately after the race.
But while the FIA’s position has been clear since the end of the race, several teams have admitted that the current interpretation of the regulations – which was agreed upon after last year’s Spa race – was not what it should have been. The goal was
Speaking about the confusion over the rules, Horner said: “I think it’s a mistake.
“I think it’s a mistake that wasn’t added after the problems at the spa last year, that the regulations aren’t disclosed.
“We were under the strong impression that with only 75% of the race we would get full points. So we felt we would be one point short.
“But in the end, Chico’s move on Charles nailed Max to the championship. So you can see his surprise, the team’s surprise. But what a wonderful surprise.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, who saw Leclerc’s final title chances end with the interpretation of the point, admitted his squad had no idea how to handle things.
“We were confused, and we thought it wouldn’t have been a full award,” he said. “So initially, our calculations were that he was not a world champion.
“Finally, there’s an explanation that’s a good explanation. So I think it’s just accepted. That’s the way it is. He’s the world champion. That’s pretty clear.”
World Champion Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
McLaren team boss Andreas Seidel backed the view that the rule changes made last winter were never intended to award full points for races that were nowhere near the full distance.
“In the end, how the points were awarded today was not in our minds at all,” he said. “This was not the intention of the FIA and the team.
“But in the end, it looks like we all overlooked the flaw, and so we’re all responsible for it. It means we should try to do a better job together next time. “
Horner had little doubt that teams would now talk to the FIA to revise the rule for the future.
“I believe it will,” he said.
Binotto said it was something he would get to see and understand Ferrari better.
“I need to double-check with my sports guys: what was the clear understanding, and what was the conclusion and the way it was written and interpreted versus the intention,” he said.
“It’s a detail, and it’s something that we need to clarify for the future as well, what the real intent is, what you should do and that’s pretty clear. But I’m not too worried, I’m not too disappointed.
I accept the way the FIA has interpreted it, let’s review, let’s talk, but I’m not going to jump to conclusions today.