Christian Horner: Red Bull ‘always working hard’ to give best chance for both drivers
Christian Horner believes that Red Bull drivers are always given the same opportunities and that whoever gets to the top is ultimately responsible for their driving; watch the Australian GP Qualifiers live on Sky Sports F1 at 6am on Saturday, with build times from 5:15am
Last updated: 03/31/23 10:52 am
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has insisted that he gives his drivers an “equal opportunity” after Sergio Perez claimed the team had previously only focused on Max Verstappen.
Perez is just one point behind his teammate heading into the Australian Grand Prix and “definitely” he can take on Verstappen for the title in 2023, citing his form as the reason why. Teams can no longer consider Verstappen as their only championship rival.
Indeed, he becomes Verstappen’s longest-serving Formula 1 teammate at the end of this season, surpassing Daniel Ricciardo, with Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon also unable to trouble the Dutch during their time at same team.
Despite ‘Checo’ Perez’s claims, Horner is clear that Red Bull’s policy has always been to provide both drivers with “the best equipment” to do their jobs on the track, regardless of position. position in the championship.
“Well, that’s the first time I’ve heard him say that,” Horner said.
“We’ve always run two cars since we got into the sport in 2005 and we’ve always wanted to have the best two possible drivers on the car.
“I think it’s great to see Checo doing a great job.
“In ’21, he got in a car at the end of the Covid season and at the end of a series of regulations and he was struggling with that car.
“Last year he was definitely more at home in the car and he’s hit two of our 17 wins.
“He’s crossed the line again this year but we’re only two races away from the season and have a long way to go.
“As a team, we always try to give both riders the best chance with the best possible equipment and then what they do on the track.
“That’s whether it’s Max or Checo, or Daniel and Max, Daniel and Seb, Mark and Seb, or you can go back to David Coulthard and Mark Webber.
“So that’s how we’ve always done it and what matters is what they do on the track at the end of the day.”
Although Horner refuted Perez’s claims, he made it clear that as the championship unfolds, “consistency” will be the deciding factor in who takes the lead in the title race and Perez’s duties. is to keep up with Verstappen in 2023.
“In a sample of two races, [it is the best Checo] yes,” Horner added.
“He drove some great races last year, you think back to Singapore such as a brilliant win for Checo last season.
“He’s done an excellent job in the first two races of this year, his confidence is high and that’s exactly what we wanted.
“We wanted two drivers who would push and challenge each other.
“I think the important thing in a long season is that it’s a marathon. That’s consistency in 23 races and that will be the difference.
“He’s had a great start and both drivers are pushing each other, that’s what you want to see.”
Verstappen: We can compete | Perez: It’s a spiritual day
World championship leader Verstappen was the fastest in a tumultuous session that began at the weekend in Melbourne, with the Dutchman among a number of riders twirling around in challenging conditions at the Grand Prix. member Albert.
After a tough first day in wet weather, Verstappen remains confident he can “compete” in Saturday’s qualifying.
“It’s not even so much about the car, it’s just very low grip there,” says Verstappen.
“The runway seemed very slippery and it was quite difficult to rotate the tires.
“So when you want to go out and push right away, it’s really hard. And then with disruptions and red flags like we’ve had, you never really get to the point.
“Tonight we’re going to go through the data and see what we have to do for tomorrow, make the right choices and I’m sure the car will compete.”
Although Verstappen was confident, it looked like opening day was tougher for Perez, who said it was a “messy” day after rain hampered Practice 2.
“It was a spiritual day,” Perez said.
“Especially on P2, it seems a lot of people are still having issues with their GPS data.
“It’s just a mess and I can’t run a lap in the afternoon.
“We’ve made some changes that seem to be working well in area one and area two but there’s really not much to say.
“Tomorrow there’s so much to do and so much to do in P3 so I think we’ll be a bit blind on the race that will be interesting.
“I think tomorrow we’ll see where we really are.”
Watch the Australian Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 with lights off at 6am on Sunday 2nd April. Get sports in the sky