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F1 | Horner takes aim at Mercedes: “You're doing something right when people start pointing fingers”

In a recent interview Christian Horner spoke about the behind-the-scenes rivalry in the paddock that has been taking place this season.

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F1 | Horner takes aim at Mercedes: “You're doing something right when people start pointing fingers”
Fuente imagen: f1.com

This season has been definitely an interesting one to watch. With Red Bull Racing’s RB16B, that improved the car and engine duo compared to the previous year and that being a very clear and visible threat to Mercedes, who has been a little bit out of the performance they got us used to in the turbo hybrid era, the clash between those two on and outside of track is definitely entertaining for fans. But recently, it hasn’t been as easy for the team based in Milton Keynes, as they found themselves being a target of some new FIA technical directives and the very complicated politics-induced game playing in the paddock. 

In a recent interview given by Christian Horner, the Team Principal of Red Bull Racing to Motorsport.com, he admitted that the job of getting under his rival’s skin has been definitely working so far. As he said in regards of Mercedes lobbying this season: "They've put an awful lot of energy into that, more than you would expect. t’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."  

Red Bull has definitely stepped their game up compared to 2020. So far in 2021 Red Bull won 6 times, compared to Mercedes’ four, but right now the luck has been on Mercedes’ side as they now top the drivers and teams championship standings, after Red Bull’s costly accidents at Silverstone and in Hungary. It is hard to exactly say if it was Red Bull who made so much progress, or Mercedes was taking aback by the new aero rules, but those two teams are going head to head in every single race this season. 

Christian Horner believes Red Bull’s current success is made out of few different factors. It was not only the fact that the F1 homologation rules forced everybody to carry over the chassis from 2020, but the fact that the team was also able to get on top of the issues that affected their 2020 campaign.

As said by Horner: "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.

"I think it was a combination of things: that we managed to understand some of our issues, managed to address an awful lot of them and just make a more rounded packaged," added Horner. 

"I think that, combined with Honda pulling their engine that was originally scheduled for 2022 into this year, being that final season in Formula 1, which was a Herculean effort on their side. It has enabled everything to come together." 

Compared to previous seasons, where Red Bull was able to tackle Mercedes but was never the dominant car, this season Red Bull is proving to be the fastest car on many of the tracks in the calendar. In regards to that, Horner has said: "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.”

Although Red Bull so far has had a very strong campaign, races like Silverstone and Hungary prove that in Formula 1 nothing can be ever taken for granted. But despite this, Horner believes there is only one objective for Red Bull for the rest of the season: to improve even more in comparison to the first half. As he said during the interview: "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..." 


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