“Let’s see over the next few circuits how things how things pan out” — Horner staying calm in F1 title battle following disappointing Monaco GP

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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Despite the team’s dominance within the past few Formula 1 seasons, Red Bull Racing has faced some surprising problems thus far in 2024, particularly when it comes to handling the bumps and kerbs on certain circuits. 

Despite the team continuing to lead in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, the most recent grand prix’s have exposed vulnerabilities in the RB20.

Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, has acknowledged that their RB20 car is struggling significantly on bumpy tracks. 

These issues came to light during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, where Max Verstappen and Checo Perez failed to find pace within the car, qualifying P6 and P18 respectively.

Despite attempts by the team to soften the suspension to absorb the shocks, the adjustments backfired, and have worsened the car’s handling as a result. 

Interestingly, RB F1, which runs last year’s suspension, did not face these same problems. This discrepancy points to flaws introduced in the new design of the RB20. 

Horner is hopeful that analysing the performance of the sister team can offer vital clues and solutions.

“Quite a lot of focus will now take part on why have we had these ride issues? Why is the car struggling on the kerbs?

“The VCARB car is running with our suspension from last year and didn’t seem to have the same issues. 

“We need to understand if it’s something that we’ve introduced.”

This isn’t the first time Red Bull has had problems. The 2023 Singapore Grand Prix highlighted similar problems, with the car’s stiff set-up causing difficulties on the street circuit, with Verstappen and Perez both getting dumped out in Q2 that weekend. 

“First of all it’s understanding what the issue is. So once we’ve done that, then you can look at what the relevant fix is.

“We saw it in Singapore last year as well. So, we’ve had another example of that. We know it’s an area of the car we need to work on.”

Verstappen’s complaints about the car’s ride quality suggest that this is a recurring weak spot for the team on street circuits and that they have finally been “found out.”

While Red Bull continues to lead the championship, their rivals have been making strides, with McLaren and Ferrari showing significant improvements. 

The Monaco Grand Prix was a reminder of this reality. Perez’s race ended in disaster on the first lap, while Verstappen, starting from P6, could only manage to finish in the same position. 

Despite these setbacks, Horner remains optimistic about the long season ahead. 

He highlighted that the championship is a marathon, not a sprint, with many more races to go. Upcoming circuits like Montreal, Barcelona, Austria, and Silverstone will provide further tests and opportunities for Red Bull to address their current problems.

“It’s a track that we’ve performed well at previously. They’ve resurfaced the whole circuit again, so let’s see. But Ferrari and McLaren, they’re quick.

“I think McLaren made a big step, Ferrari’s step was very subtle. So let’s see over the next two or three races.

“We’re now getting into the meat of the championship so let’s see. Montreal, Barcelona, Austria, Silverstone, let’s see over the next few circuits how things how things pan out. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“It was always going to happen that there was going to be convergence. Of course, this has been a tough weekend, but we’re still leading both championships.

“Obviously, we’ll look to take the lessons out of this weekend and apply to the next one.”