x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Christian Horner targets quick recovery from Red Bull

Red Bull boss acknowledges his team were well beaten in Germany but is hopeful that conditions were a factor in their below-par outing and will be back on form at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Christian Horner, the Red Bull Racing team principle, is hoping that the cooler conditions factored into his team's poor race in Germany.
Christian Horner, the Red Bull Racing team principle, is hoping that the cooler conditions factored into his team's poor race in Germany.

Christian Horner, the Red Bull Racing team principal, conceded yesterday that his team's defeat by both McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari in the German Grand Prix had been a "wake-up call" that signalled they need to work harder.

Horner acknowledged that there was nothing his drivers Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel, the defending champion and runaway leader, could do to stop Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso finishing first and second.

"We have managed to be competitive at many, many different types of track," he said. "We have had pole position at every single GP this year; we have won six out of 10 and been on the podium at every single race.

"So it is far from a disaster, but, for sure, this race is a reminder that we cannot back off - and not any member of the team is backing off at the moment. Everybody is pushing flat out."

Hamilton's win means there have been four different victors in the last four grands prix - an indication that Vettel is no longer having it all his own way, as he did with five wins in the opening six races this season.

Horner said: "I think that if you look at Valencia, McLaren was down a bit there as well and Ferrari was up a bit, but they are both great teams and they are both pushing very hard.

"You are always learning and we have seen very different climatic conditions here.

"It has probably been colder than winter testing and we saw McLaren struggling quite a lot two weeks ago with tyres.

"I think the key to performance is in understanding the tyres' performance and getting the most from the tyres - and Red Bull has been pretty consistent across the 10 races whereas other teams have been up and down.

"We will for sure look to learn lessons from this weekend - but the next GP will be in different conditions probably.

"It is probably going to be another 20 degrees hotter.

"You are always learning, always looking to move forward, but the one thing Red Bull has consistently done is be able to run at the front this year."

Horner's focus on tyres, and tyre performance, was reiterated up and down the pit lane after Sunday's race as it became apparent that the "new" Pirelli tyres were now lasting longer, in European conditions, than they had done earlier in the year.

This, in turn, meant that the drivers were required to adapt to new performance levels and set-ups, a requirement that appeared to suit Hamilton and Webber better than their teammates Jenson Button and Vettel.

Webber said on Sunday that the latest developments of Pirelli's tyres indicated that "things are coming my way now" as he had struggled with the fast-wearing rubber used previously.

However, he added after the race that he felt Red Bull had to accept now that their car was not fast enough - and they did not have the clear performance advantage they enjoyed earlier in the season.

Although Red Bull have taken pole at every race this year, the overall superiority has diminished and, as Horner said, it is now time for "everyone in the factory to be working flat out with bits coming through, so we are in the heart of the development race at the moment."

The team will look to bounce back immediately at the Hungaraian Grand Prix in Budapest.

Webber won the race last year, with Vettel taking pole position by almost a second from the nearest non-Red Bull car.