Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is astounded by Mercedes’ lobbying strategy but takes an optimistic position claiming that the Milton Keynes team must be doing things right for people to start pointing fingers.
Horner has reflected on their performance in the first half of the Formula 1 season and is proud of what they have achieved as a team. However, he is assured that the team’s primary objective is to improve for the remainder of the season.
“We’ve managed to win six of the races so far this year, which is a phenomenal record, more than we’ve won in the last couple of years, and, I think that being in that championship fight is exciting for everybody.
“It’s been seven long years that we’ve been very much a support role. We’ve managed to win races through being tactically shrewd and being good on our toes, but we were not able to put a sustained campaign together. Now we have the tools to do that, we have a chassis that performs extremely well, we have an engine that’s delivering, and we’ve got a driver that’s at the top of his game and experienced.
“We just got to do it better than the first half! We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.
“There are going to be some challenges on track and off track. But we have just got to keep taking the approach that we have and trying to maximise our performance as a team in each session, each qualifying, and each race.
“But inevitably, once you get the business end of the championship, the stakes increase. You sort of go through and tick off the events one by one at the moment. But the closer to the end you get, the more the pressure increases…”
As far as Red Bull is competitive this season, Horner has admitted that they have greatly benefitted from the volume of carryover components that were brought into their car or 2021. It is not surprising that the British team boss shares this opinion as Red Bull closed their 2020 campaign with a win in Abu Dhabi which has been largely dominated by Mercedes through the hybrid era. Despite this, Horner was wary of 2021’s new aero rules for their car and confessed that the team had their doubts about its sync with high rake cars. Horner also praised Honda’s engine for this season and believes they have managed to capitalize on the engine’s energy utilization.
“We’ve benefited obviously from a degree of continuity of the carryover components. And I think the fact of the correlation had come together, that we understood where our issues were and were able to address those, I think that was the key element, certainly for the first six months of this year.
“We were actually concerned the rules were going to have a big effect on the high rake cars.
“I think from a packaging point of view from an energy utilization, as well where, the ratios that they’ve got, I think they’ve done a good job.
“And if anything, that’s where I think Mercedes have got that ratio slightly compromised this year.”
While acknowledging that the team has a competitive package for this season Horner has revealed his dismay with the off-track strategies used by their main competitor. It is known that Mercedes has been lobbying against Red Bull, for instance, Mercedes’ accusation of Red Bull’s flexible rear wing. Horner has shared his opinions on this.
“They’ve put an awful lot of energy into that, more than you would expect. It’s been a clear strategy. But I think it just shows that they see us as a threat. And I think that you’re doing something right when people start pointing fingers.”