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Christian Horner

Horner warns Verstappen and Perez of potential for 'conflict'

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are free to race each other in the battle for the 2023 F1 World Championship, but Red Bull boss Christian Horner has reiterated that the team comes first.

Christian Horner admits that there is the potential for "conflict" when two drivers within the team are both fighting for the World Championship, as is currently the case for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Red Bull have dominated the opening five Grands Prix of the 2023 F1 season, with Verstappen and Perez claiming three and two race wins respectively.

While Horner understands the desire of each driver to clinch the title, he is also keen to remind them that the team's interests come first.

Horner: Red Bull drivers not just representing themselves

"You've got two drivers and they are contractors to the team," Horner told the Extraordinary Tales With Seb Coe podcast.

"But, of course, we've got two championships; the Constructors' Championship that means everything to the team, and the Drivers' Championship that means everything to the driver, and sometimes they're in conflict with each other.

"I think the most important thing, across the whole variance of drivers that we've had over the years that I've seen, is just to be upfront and try and deal things in an open manner, above the table and have the difficult conversations upfront of what's expected, that they're not just driving for themselves.

"They're driving in a set of Red Bull overalls, they're representing all the hopes of the 1,500 people within our team and companies that have all the partners, the shareholders. It's not just themselves that they're representing."

Potential for 'conflict' between drivers

Horner acknowledges that conflict can arise between the drivers in such a scenario, but believes that Red Bull have always taken the right approach to handling this.

"Of course, you end up sometimes with conflict between your drivers," the team boss explained.

"But I think the most important thing as a team is to play with a straight bat, to treat them equally. We don't have a number one driver.

"Our number one driver is whoever is ahead on the circuit, and you earn that by what you do on the circuit, not through a contract. And that's the way we've always operated."

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