Christian Horner says Max Verstappen’s setbacks during 2017 have been down to nothing more than misfortune.
Verstappen has retired from six of the 13 races so far this year. These include four stoppages due to technical faults and two first-lap collisions in Spain and Austria.
His team mate Daniel Ricciardo has had half as many retirements and finished on the podium six times to once for Verstappen. Car problems forced Ricciardo out in Australia and Russia, and in Hungary he retired after being hit by Verstappen on the first lap.
Horner dismissed suggestions that Verstappen’s problems were linked to the crew working on his car. “It’s nothing to do with the pit crew,” he said at Monza.
“When we called this car RB13, our 13th car, we said ‘unlucky for some and lucky for others’. It’s been lucky for Daniel, unlucky for Max.”
“But hopefully that can change. Max deserves a change. He’s been driving so well this year. He should have been on the podium in many, many races.”
Verstappen said “you can’t call it bad luck anymore” following his retirement at Spa. However Horner said his driver’s remarks were borne out of frustration.
“Any driver that ends up retiring from a great position in races, particularly your home race, he’s only going to be upset,” said Horner.
“I think Max is a young guy, he is performing at a really high level and I hope we can give him a great car so he can realise his potential.”
2017 F1 season
- Stripping Verstappen of 2017 US podium was “one of the toughest decisions” – steward
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- New kerbs at COTA in response to Verstappen’s corner-cutting
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year