Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has laid out his main goals for updating the squad’s RB18 challenger, saying the team are aiming to shed kilos off the car, as he weighed up its strengths versus the Ferrari F1-75.
Max Verstappen made it two consecutive wins by overhauling Charles Leclerc’s lead in Miami, and the reigning champion is now 19 points behind his rival in the standings – with Red Bull six behind Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. Although his squad have the momentum, Horner said that saving weight is a priority for the engineers.
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“You saw in Imola how quickly things can move around and I think we’ve got some interesting races coming up. The car’s running well. We’ve got some developments coming hopefully later in the summer that will help as well. We need to save a little bit of weight.
“You can always improve everywhere,” he added. “We need to improve the slow [corner] stuff, we need to lose a couple of kilos off the car; tyre deg is then the result of weight so it’s all those little incremental gains that you’re always chasing,” he explained.
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As for reliability concerns – Verstappen having retired twice this seaso,n while Sergio Perez has also bowed out once – Horner assured fans that the “frustrating” engine problems will soon be ironed out.
“I don’t think the car is particularly fragile – I just think there have been niggly things that you’ve normally seen in pre-season testing that have only reared their head now.
“So that is frustrating, but we are working closely with HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] and they are giving us great support, and we’ll get those things figured out.”
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Looking ahead to the Spanish Grand Prix, Horner said he anticipated the advantage to swing towards Ferrari at the circuit that features a number of medium and high-speed corners.
“It’s been nip-and-tuck and Barcelona is a whole new challenge, high-speed corners, and we know that Ferrari are strong in that area. It’s horses for courses and this circuit [Miami] suited us, we were able to make it work and get the result,” he said.
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As for the development war, Horner branded it “brutal” given the rising costs of producing components.
“With a budget cap this year it’s very hard to bring continuous development. You’ve got to pick when you want to introduce your components, because especially with inflation the way it is, that’s brutal.”