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Horner considers F1 secret ballot system “a shame”

Christian Horner (Red Bull). Credits: Red Bull Content Pool.

After that Zak Brown, McLaren Team Boss, proposed to use secret ballot voting for future changes in the sport, Christian Horner admitted that he thinks this decision would be wrong. 

Brown wrote a letter on Thursday in which he asked to use secret voting ballots, but Horner feels that it would be a shame to use this type of voting system. 

“I heard about that, and I can only assume it’s because of pressure applied from the [power unit] supplier, which if that is the case, is a shame,” Horner said.

“It would be a shame to need to go behind a secret ballot, but a team has a right to request that.

“But if that’s what it took to take independent votes, then we don’t have a major issue with it.”

However, Red Bull Team Principal was the only one who raised concerns about this new proposal made by Zak Brown, which was also supported by Ferrari, Mercedes, and Alpine. 

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Team Principal, said that Mercedes never tried to influence other teams’ choices, but he feels that a secret ballot system would help. 

“In terms of the secret ballot, it’s very easy,” Wolff said.

“You have seen in the past that Toro Rosso [now AlphaTauri] has voted like Red Bull, probably without any exemptions, and Haas has gone the Ferrari way. In our case, we have never tried to influence a team.

“Things have been discussed when it was a common topic, like on the power unit, it’s clear the teams vote with each other, and none of the teams would vote against their interests in terms of chassis regulations.

“So the idea of the secret ballot is good. I doubt that Franz [Tost, AlphaTauri boss] is not going to take instructions, and neither will Gunther [Steiner, Haas boss] not take instructions. But the attempt is good.

“No team should be influenced by any affiliate or any supplier.”

Moreover, Laurent Mekies said that a mechanism that allows secrets ballots already exists at the moment. Therefore, he believes that teams should speak up to start using it. 

“The secret ballot option has been in the governance for a long while,” Mekies said.

“It’s just the fact that perhaps we didn’t use it very often, or certainly in the last few years, we haven’t done so. It’s good to be able to use it.

“Whether or not we’ll do it systematically or not, it’s up to any team to request a secret ballot on any questions, all the questions. It’s already a mechanism that is in the governance with the FIA and F1.

“We are in favor of it. Whenever a team is not comfortable with an item that needs to be voted on, they should raise their hands and make sure we get a secret ballot.

“If it’s all the time like that, we are always happy. For us, it’s a good thing for the sport, and fully supportive.”

Even though Alpine is the only team using Renault engines, which means it cannot influence other teams’ choices since no one buys their power units, it is in favor of the secret ballots anyway. 

“We’re in favor, not because it’s going to change anything for us, but because we believe that every team should be voting for their best interests and what’s best for them,” said Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski.

“We’ve seen certain situations in the past, the ones that Zak referred to, where some teams seem to be voting against their interests. That’s not good for Formula 1.

“You need to keep the balance right if you want, and you can’t have teams voting against their interests because of affiliations.”

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