Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2019

Too early for Red Bull to think about championship – Horner

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says it’s too soon to consider the team as championship contenders despite their performance in the first race of the 2019 F1 season.

Max Verstappen briefly led the team’s first race with Honda power, finished ahead of both Ferraris and put pressure on Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at one stage.

However speaking after the race Horner played down the team’s chances of being able to contend for the championship this year.

“I think it’s too early to talk about championships,” he said. “But certainly to be on the podium here is a great moment for Honda.

“We’re very proud of that achievement, grateful for the product they’ve given us. Hopefully it’s a starting point for a strong season.”

“We want to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari [and] we’ve done that,” he added. “It’s only one race but we have a good start and we have to build on this positive energy.”

Following the race Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko said the onus was now on Red Bull to make improvements to its chassis to gain grounds on its rivals. However Horner believes there are improvements to be found in every aspect of the team’s performance.

“I think on all areas you never sit still,” he said. “So chassis, engine, all aspects.

“The pit crew were outstanding today with the fastest pit stop. Of course Formula 1 never stands still, this is only the start of 21 races. [The] development will be very intense.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Too early for Red Bull to think about championship – Horner”

  1. And I agree with him! One podium does not make a championship.

  2. Red Bull could be very competitive in Bahrain I think. Last year Ricciardo was only 0.324 off Mercedes and 0.440 off Ferrari, while Max potentially would have been closer, since he massively outqualified Daniel over the year. Even though the Renault engine at the time was down on horse power to Ferrari and Mercedes, and on a circuit like Bahrain with many straight that would lose them lots of laptime. Also the Honda engine looks really good so far this year, and performed well last year with Gasly as best of the rest. Given that Ferrari will probably sort out their issues and be competitive again, it is looking like a promising weekend in the dessert..

    1. @jesperfey13 You mean desert. ‘Dessert’ is something we (usually) eat after the main course, LOL.

      1. @jerejj yeah hahah.. there is the evidence English is not my 1st language

        1. We usually have snacks while watching the races.

          But account of you, I will dish up a dessert. It taste great, and it will be a good weekendt in dessert =D

          1. You mean “tastes” not “taste” ;-)

        2. I hear you mate. Illegitimi non carborundum ;)

  3. Toto talk about Honda straight line speed. Gasly having trouble to pass Toro Rosso who had been complaining all week about drivability in the corner. So, I think Marko was right. The main challenge is to get Red Bull superior chassis and aero back. It would be nice not to depend on Ferrari on having good show for once.

    Max vs Lewis all year would be great. They would cancelled each other and Valtteri had a better chance to became WDC.

    1. Kviat was the 6th fastest driver in the race and Gasly 5th, so not easy to pass and they were always on drs the entire race. This is a very hard track to overtake, and Gasly was clearly afraid of binning the car. Next race in a regular circuit will be much more telling of the pecking order and about the new rules about overtaking

      1. Gasly could/should have overtaken Kvyat when they were not in the DRS-train. After Kvyat went into the gravel at turn 3 he lost about 5 seconds to Stroll, so he didn’t have drs to defend to Gasly. Or Gasly should have just stayed ahead after he pitted. Not a great performance in his RB debut, hopefully he will improve..

  4. I’m also very curious about Bahrain, last year the track seamed to flatter the Honda engine allot, not only Gasly was a comfortable best of the rest but also Hartley was quite fast but had a disastrous race.

  5. Lewisham Milton
    19th March 2019, 10:03

    Who was asking him stupid questions about championships?

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      19th March 2019, 11:06

      I know. “You finished 30 sec behind nr 1 and in front of a limping Ferrari, while your nr 2 driver didn’t score a point and was stuck behind a Torro Rosso. Do you think you are championchip contenders?”

      1. Maybe you should change you alias to GtisBitter…

  6. It is the same for the other teams.

  7. Lol Horner seen the pace of the Mercs and has had a re-think about their bragging only a few days earlier.
    Also Ferrari had a bad weekend some silly mistakes and obviously a problem with the car. I would expect them to improve quite a bit over the next couple of races. RB/Honda has lasted one race so I think the talk about reliability may be a little premature as it still has 6 races to go.
    RB have talked about taking engine penalties. So I’m thinking they may have turned up the wick (on Verstappens car) for the sake of performance, and hope they can score enough points to counter rear of grid starts.
    If that is their strategy it will be interesting to see how many ICE they go through and if Liberty decide to toughen up the rules to stop it.

    1. “they” never bragged. Marko is a bit optimistic by times.
      Horner and Honda are quite realistic in there approach.
      And they probably need more engines and will take some penalties on selected tracks. All allowed in the current rules.
      Just like merc did in spa and others on occasion.

      1. “they” never bragged. Marko is a bit optimistic by times.

        Haha OK I’ll meet you half way they were over optimistic.

        Just like merc did in spa and others on occasion.

        Without going back and checking I think Merc had the best reliability record by a fair bit last yr? Followed by Ferrari then Renault then…Honda.
        I think the rules are a bit flexible, but if RB start changing out ICE and gain advantage do you really think Merc / Ferrari and Renault will just stay quiet? Also that would mean that they also could turn up their ICE and just swap them out every 4-6 races and take a penalty just like RB. Defeats the whole purpose of the rule don’t you think?

      2. @johnrkh Your usual blah blah blah. If they turned up the wick for Max and he finished as strongly as he did, that bodes well for them.

        Even taking Marko’s ‘bragging’ into account, he hasn’t said they will win the Championships. Nobody thinks that, including RBR. Odds are great that it will either be a Mercedes romp, or a competition between Mercedes and Ferrari, so all RBR has to do this year is their best and to learn and grow in season one with Honda. If they end up intentionally taking penalties, so be it. And what more could Liberty do if they wanted to crack down on this? Ban them from races?

        1. Hello @robbie,

          If they turned up the wick for Max and he finished as strongly as he did, that bodes well for them.

          Well not necessarily as I pointed out, and if you had bothered to read my post you would understand what I’m trying to get at.
          You see it would go against the spirit of the 3 ICE per season stipulation. So if everybody starts to do it then it all falls apart. These are not guide lines or suggestions, they are rules that are meant to be followed. I would imagine that Liberty would be forced to act against any ‘abuse’ of the rules or they would look rather silly. Yes I know you are suggesting that Honda have found power and reliability, but with RB saying they are willing to take ICE penalties that would suggest otherwise.
          Look all of this is just a scenario based on what is being said by the teams and what we can see on track so it’s a bit speculative, but that’s part of the fun…isn’t?

          1. @johnrkh Nothing seemed to get in the way of what STR/Honda did last year so I don’t see why it would be different this year with RBR. I’m sure ultimate Liberty would prefer a strong Honda Pu in 4 cars in the grid. If they have to follow the rules by taking penalties where they have to or even choose to, well that’s why the rules are there.

          2. You know according to a merc engineer, they build lots of engines te select the best three. No reduction there. The rules are strict for everyone. It seems you have a hard time accepting a third place with Max and Honda. Two things you seem to detest to extremes.

          3. Pot, kettle & black spring to mind Erik. Glass houses & stones?

  8. If the current engine is better than last year’s than the current chassis is worse than last year’s since the gap is about stable. One cannot expect a new engine and a new chassis work in perfect harmony, but it’s too early indeed to talk about the world championship. Improve the chassis like RB does every year and focus on podiums and wins.

  9. RedBull is particulary strong in the area of improving performance during the season. Look at last year where they could fight for victories allmost every race in the end of the season. So, with that in mind, things could get interesting really quickly. Let’s hope so

  10. Indeed way to early.
    But based on Gasly’s race (failing to attempt an overtake) I doubt that they will have a chance at the WCC. Gasly will get better, but not after missing more points for the team.

    It might therefore be wise to focus on the WDC. It’s also a long shot, but defining a #1 driver early on could just make the difference in a tight season.

  11. I hope Max and his father know the waste of time …

  12. If fia play some dirty trick for honda like fim for ducati,
    even mlc-honda maybe win WDC already.

  13. Melbourne isnt a good representation of the rest of the calendar. Remember when Mclaren finished second and third in 2014?

    That being said, I’m impressed by Max’s mature drive. He got the max out of the weekend in a very Alonso-esque way. If he can keep this up (I mean, you’re never far off from an outburst with Max), and keep maximising his weekends, he could be in the hunt. I dont like Max, but credit where its due.

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