Horner: Switch to F1 secret ballot voting would be ‘a shame’

Christian Horner believes it would be “a shame” if Formula 1 teams resorted to secret ballot voting for future rule changes following a suggestion by McLaren boss Zak Brown.

Horner: Switch to F1 secret ballot voting would be ‘a shame’

Brown wrote an open letter about the state of F1 that was published on Thursday, in which he called for a move to secret ballot voting at F1 Commission meetings.

Brown said the practice would stop unhealthy affiliations between bigger teams and smaller partner squads, ensuring they voted in the best interests of F1 as a whole.

But Red Bull team principal Horner felt it would be a shame in F1 had to go down such a route to ensure teams could be independent in their voting habits.

“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 when asked about Brown’s letter.

“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.”

But Horner was alone in raising concerns about a move to secret ballot voting during Friday’s FIA press conference, with the proposal gaining support from Mercedes, Ferrari and Alpine.

Toto Wolff said that Mercedes had never tried to use its position as a power unit supplier to influence how its customers voted, but felt a secret ballot system would help.

Toto Wolff 2020

Toto Wolff 2020

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“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.

“Obviously 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 own 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 obviously good.

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

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies revealed there is already a mechanism within the governance system that allows for secret ballots, and that teams should not be afraid to speak up to put it into action.

“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.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“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 favour of it. Whenever a team is not comfortable with an item that needs to be voted, 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.”

Alpine is the only team racing in F1 with Renault power units, meaning it does not have any affiliations to another squad, but is still in favour of the move.

“We’re in favour, 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 own 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.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Portuguese GP: Bottas fastest from Verstappen in opening practice
Previous article

F1 Portuguese GP: Bottas fastest from Verstappen in opening practice

Next article

The joy of the travel and the chase in Formula 1

The joy of the travel and the chase in Formula 1
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022
How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir Plus

How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir

He’s fast, he’s smart, and he’s already shown he’s not going to let Max Verstappen intimidate him. George Russell won’t say it, but LUKE SMITH says he’s ready to take the lead at Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton moves on to a quieter life. And – whisper it – Mercedes and Lewis are starting to think so too

Formula 1
Aug 5, 2022
The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move Plus

The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move

Fernando Alonso’s bombshell switch to Aston Martin sent shockwaves through Formula 1, not least at Alpine that finds itself tangled in a contract standoff with Oscar Piastri. Not shy of a bold career move and with a CV punctuated by them, there were numerous hints that trouble was brewing

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2022
The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships Plus

The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships

OPINION: Ferrari's Formula 1 title hopes look all but over after another strategic blunder in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix denied Charles Leclerc the chance to fight for victory, while handing it to chief rival Max Verstappen. The Scuderia now faces intense scrutiny over what it must now do to finally become a genuine factor in championship battles

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2022
The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision Plus

The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision

OPINION: Sebastian Vettel is set to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2022 and will, rather shockingly, be replaced by Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin. But what about the final chapter of the other driver that defined the post-Michael Schumacher era? In Hungary, Lewis Hamilton spoke about his future in the context of Vettel’s upcoming departure, which offered clues on how long it will last

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022
Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing Plus

Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing

OPINION: With more potential venues than there are slots in future calendars, rumours have been circulating that the Monaco Grand Prix could be a casualty of F1’s expansion into new markets. But MARK GALLAGHER thinks this is highly unlikely

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022
Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

The Hungarian Grand Prix race result, after a dry race held without safety car conditions, bore little resemblance to what was anticipated after qualifying. While certain drivers were nullified by some iffy strategy calls, others shone to grasp opportunities afforded to them in the last F1 race before the summer break

Formula 1
Aug 1, 2022