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Christian Horner

Why Horner is staying cautious despite 'very healthy' Red Bull F1 lead

Despite comfortable leads in both championships, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is keeping his feet on the ground as the season resumes in Belgium.

Christian Horner
Article
To news overview © XPB

Christian Horner is remaining cautious for the second half of the Formula 1 season, despite his Red Bull team enjoying "healthy" leads in both championships.

Red Bull were the dominant outfit in the first 13 races of the 2022 season, scooping nine wins between Max Verstappen (eight) and Sergio Perez (one), and are on course for a first championship double since '13.

However, despite an 80-point advantage for Verstappen over Charles Leclerc, and a 93-point gap back to Ferrari, Horner is still playing down Red Bull's chances of claiming both titles.

Horner: Red Bull can still improve

While the Ferrari has arguably been the quicker car across the season so far, Red Bull have been a far superior team in terms of trackside operations, including strategy.

Red Bull did have some early reliability concerns – with both cars retiring in Bahrain and Verstappen also conking out in Australia, but these have been rectified as the homegrown power unit looks strong.

In spite of the lead, especially in the Drivers' – one so big no driver has ever let slip previously – Horner preached caution.

"It's [a] very healthy lead, but it's an awful lot of racing to go," he told Sky Sports F1 after Verstappen's win in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"Things can go wrong. We had some reliability issues [in Hungary] with the clutch – that could quite easily have been a DNF, but thankfully it wasn't.

"We were 12 kilometres away [from a failure with Verstappen's power unit in qualifying]. 12 kilometres later, it would have been on the way to the grid.

"So there's some areas that we can still improve on."

The threat of Ferrari and Mercedes lingers

When Ferrari have been able to extract maximum performance from the car, themselves and the drivers, they have been a match for Red Bull, who have struggled with understeer on the RB18.

There will also be technical changes as the new Technical Directive designed to combat porpoising comes into effect at the Belgian Grand Prix, with Red Bull one of the teams predicted to suffer a loss of performance following the stricter rules.

Horner still believes that Ferrari could pose a threat, along with the recovering Mercedes, following the latter's below-par start to 2022.

"Ferrari have got a very quick car, and Mercedes... you can see coming back at us, so maybe we don't need the TD in Spa after all!" Horner said cheekily.

He then signed off by stating that the Technical Directive would have "no effect" on Red Bull.

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