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GP Week : Issue 234
enigma of the year: christian horner At the beginning of the season, with four Constructors' world titles, his uncanny gift for talent-spotting and an unflappable demeanour, Horner seemed set to become a latter-day Ken Tyrrell. Unlike Ken, though, he doesn't own the team which he runs, which means that he needs to be polite to the people who keep him in business. Being rude about Renault would have been his privilege if he had found an alternative engine supplier doe 2016, but he hadn't. When team owner Dietrich Mateschitz whispered to him that he'd got Mercedes on board, Horner failed to check that it was a done deal. He should also have known that Mercedes' hands were tied because it is in an important business partnership with Renault. Ken Tyrrell would never have got himself into a scrape like that. dud of the year: jean todt One is tempted here to nominate a certain Finn, who at least had the honesty to declare that his performances at Ferrari had been no more than "average." But it's Todt who gets the garland, for being the only person in the sport with the executive authority required to sort out Formula 1's woes – and for not doing a damn thing. Todt's sporting record shows him to have been a good rally navigator and an excellent administrator at Peugeot before taking over at Scuderia Ferrari, where he showed utter devotion and a streak of ruthlessness. Two years ago, from his FISA throne, he declared that a cost cap in F1 was "essential," but we have yet to see it. What happened to the ruthlessness? He did not hesitate to employ it in Brazil, where bizarrely he at first he decreed that the appalling Paris attacks were not to be acknowledged, then put on his road safety hat and forced F1 drivers, whose business is insane speed and constant risk, to support the plight of highway casualties. This was as subtle as trying to promote animal rights at a bullfight. Don't dare to go for a third term, please, Monsieur le Président. You don't like the too-quiet hybrid V6s? You think they're too expensive? OK, chaps, we'll invite a few mugs to tender for a noisier, cheaper unit which you cheapskates at the back will be able to run instead. That's what Bernie seemed to be offering, and his sometime chum Jean Todt, in defiance of his own federation's rules, jumped aboard the band-wagon. Of course, it was all a brilliant bluff by Bernie to strong-arm the manufacturers into selling their hybrids at a more reasonable price. As usual, he won. There'll be no budget engine and Jean ‘The Wally’ Todt will be left with a permanent blush of shame. embarrassment of the year: budget engines 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: OPINION