Horner has a “feeling that the field is going to concertina this year” despite dominant F1 Bahrain GP performance

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner was in attendance at the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, but his position has been overshadowed by controversy. An investigation by Red Bull into his conduct has sparked increasing debate within the Formula One community.

After accusations made by a female team member were dismissed following an investigation, the story persisted. Anonymous emails sent to media figures in F1 during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend revealed purported evidence central to the matter. Jos Verstappen, Max Verstappen’s father, publicly called for Horner’s resignation and warned of the team falling apart.

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Reflecting on the tumultuous weekend, Horner himself emphasised the team’s focus on track performance, praising the whole team and drivers for the job they did.

“The race today, Max was dominant, and Checo, I thought, drove a very strong race. Coming through the field from fifth to achieve a 1-2 finish at the first Grand Prix of the year, achieving maximum points, I think it’s a perfect start for us in our 20th season.

“So it’s been a long winter. And I think all the men and women in Milton Keynes have done an incredible job to design and produce a great car to start the season with.

“So one down out of 24, and you can’t read too much into a single event because of the nature of the circuit, the temperature, the fact that we’re able to carry over a soft tyre into the race. It was a surprise that others didn’t do.

“It sort of distorted perhaps the back end of the stint, but nonetheless, it was a dominant display and great to get that maximum score.”

Although Verstappen romped to victory in Bahrain, Horner is certain the field is going to converge this year. It must be noted that George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc all suffered from various issues as Ferrari and Mercedes proved to be Red Bull’s main challengers in Bahrain.

“It’s wonderful to be answering a racing question, but it’s what we’re here to do, it’s why we’re all here, is to go racing.”

“And I’m sorry that it wasn’t a more entertaining race for you today, but that is the result of the team doing its job and producing an incredible car.

“Now, we have a sample of one race. I have the feeling that the field is going to concertina this year. So I don’t think you can take anything for granted out of this one race on a specific surface, specific conditions.

“And I have a feeling that this season will be a lot more challenging on track than last season. But it’s the best possible start and our minds are already thinking about five days’ time in Jeddah.”

Despite the impressive performance of both Red Bull cars, Horner cautioned against drawing hasty conclusions about the season, anticipating increased competition and challenges ahead.: “Again, I’ve been in this business too long to draw too many conclusions from a single race.

“It’s a fantastic start, we enjoy this moment, a maximum point score, but it’s a long season, many different venues, different challenges, different conditions. “And what we saw in testing is things that are closer.”

“Now, we got it right this weekend. We took the right tyres into the race, we executed a perfect race with both cars, and we got a great finish. But I think that it will converge.”

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Horner defended the 20s gap between his two drivers, explaining that Perez lost quite a bit of time in the first stint behind Russell. He praised the performance from his Mexican driver.

“Yeah, but look, everything’s relative, isn’t it? I mean, Checo came from P5, Max was obviously managing the race, as many drivers are managing different tyres at different times.

“It’s not a question of how much you win by, but it’s a question about winning. And we won today, Max dominated the race, was in a class of his own.

“Checo drove an outstanding race as well, coming through the field from 5th on the grid.

“I think the back end of the race was exaggerated by the offset of tyres that we carried in. I was surprised that others didn’t carry softs into the race when it was clearly in these conditions the better tyre to have.

Perez has just started his fourth season with Red Bull Racing, securing a personal best result in the Drivers’ Championship with P2 last year. According to Horner, drives like Bahrain will help him maintain his seat in the team.

“There’s no set criteria. He’s got to do enough to earn that seat. On days like today, it’s exactly what he’s got to deliver.”