The FIA President Jibes Christian Horner At An Unsettling Point During Prize-Giving Event.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem had a dramatic exchange with Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, on stage as he accepted the constructors’ championship trophy on behalf of the team at Friday night’s FIA Prize Giving Ceremony.

The Red Bull team was certain to have a good time during the ceremony after winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2022. However, it produced a weird moment on stage, when the FIA president decided to express his disagreement with a statement made by Horner.

This incident added to one of the more awkward scenes observed during the event. When Horner accepted the constructors’ trophy on behalf of Red Bull, he was ecstatic with the work his team accomplished over the year, especially with Verstappen, the current drivers’ champion.

However, following Horner’s speech, Ben Sulayem countered by referencing a joke he made in relation to the Japanese GP. The 25-year-old had already secured the championship after getting a win at Suzuka, although there had been some uncertainty over the distribution of points.

Given the fact that the whole race distance was not covered and the full points were awarded because of how the rules and regulations were written. The FIA came under heavy fire for the misunderstanding, but Ben Sulayem seized the opportunity and made sure he used the occasion to clarify.

On stage, he responded to Horner by saying: “Japan, you said, was controversial? No! The FIA was blamed for the points, but it was not the FIA who made the rules – it was the teams who made the rules, and we were implementing them. So thank you for that.”

The timing of that statement seemed to catch Horner off guard, and he just raised an eyebrow at Ben Sulayem. As F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who was also on stage at the moment, intervened, TV cameras captured Sergio Perez sitting in the crowd with an uneasy smirk on his face.

While positioning his arm between Christian Horner and Ben Sulayem, Domenicali chuckled as he said: “Okay guys, let’s stay focussed!” However, the FIA president went on to say: “For me, it’s very very clear about the FIA, so thank you very much.”

He continued by congratulating Horner and Red Bull on their successful campaign, maybe after realizing how tense the moment had been. “They deserve the win – everyone who wins deserves it,” he said as he shook hands with the team principal.

Verstappen took the stage to receive his drivers’ championship trophy shortly after that. His championship-winning Red Bull car, the RB18, was brought in behind him when he approached the front of the room so that it could be on stage next to him as he received the trophy.