Christian Horner relaxed about title hopes, despite 50-point loss
Christian Horner is remaining calm about Red Bull’s title prospects this season, despite losing a hatful of points through their retirements so far in 2022.
Max Verstappen twice retired from second place on the road, and when combined with Sergio Perez’s retirement from P4 in Bahrain and two chances at a fastest lap, a full 50 points that were on the table for them have slipped through their grasp.
Perez admitted that these losses are likely to prove to be crucial at the business end of the season, but with a fast car and 20 races still to be run, the Red Bull team principal is relaxed that the team will have time to turn the tables on Ferrari at the front.
“We’re just about 10 per cent of the way into the championship so I think there’s still a huge amount to go,” Horner said, quoted by Motorsport Week.
“The encouraging thing is we’ve got the basis of a quick car.
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“Ferrari was out of reach [on Sunday], their window that they were in with their tyre, you could just see they weren’t experiencing the problems either through blistering that some of the cars were experiencing, or graining that we experienced.
“They were just in a happier place, which tends to happen when your balance is more settled.”
Verstappen and Perez both retired with fuel pressure issues in Bahrain, and a fuel leak prevented the World Champion from finishing the race in Australia – leaving him 46 points behind Charles Leclerc at the top of the Drivers’ standings, and five points behind his team-mate at this early stage.
Sister team AlphaTauri have also been suffering with engine reliability problems, after Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda also recorded DNFs in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia respectively, in what has been a tricky debut for the new Red Bull Powertrains operation.
Horner acknowledged the need for the team to solve their problems quickly, but reiterated that there is still plenty of time to do so.
“We’ve seen it across the two teams, a few issues,” he explained. “They’ve all been independent, none of them have been related.
“We obviously need to understand those and address them quickly because even on a day that we weren’t as quick as Ferrari we were guaranteed second place.
“In the first few races, for Max we’ve given up 36 points and for the team we’ve given up 50 points. When you look at that, both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship would be a lot different.
“But there’s still a huge percentage of the championship still to run but we need to get on top of these issues quickly.”
Red Bull are currently lagging 49 points behind Ferrari at the top of the Constructors’ Championship, also sitting behind a Mercedes team that have had a quantifiably slower car overall than the Milton Keynes team at the start of 2022.
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