Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Austin showed progress Red Bull has made – Horner

2019 United States Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team’s performance in Austin reflected progress they have made which hasn’t always been apparent since the summer break.

Max Verstappen missed pole position by less than a tenth of a second and finished third in the race behind the Mercedes drivers.

Horner said the car “performed well” at the Circuit of the Americas despite windy conditions which “would have badly affected us at the beginning of the year.”

“We [were] competitive throughout the weekend,” he said. “Had it not been for a little lock-up at turn one, arguably we could have achieved the pole, we were only half a tenth off.

“The car’s been competitive in every session, a competitive third place as well. And Alex [Albon’s] recovery as well I think highlights is again, our competitiveness.”

The team has missed chances for better results since the summer break, Horner admitted. “I think in Mexico we had a really competitive car and that was a missed opportunity for us following the first-lap incident,” he said.

“At Suzuka we never got to see what the car was really capable of with Max being eliminated early on. I suspect Suzuka could have been similar to [Austin]. It’s a similar type of circuit.

“Singapore, we recognise where we made a mistake. Obviously we lost out to the Ferraris that day and beat Mercedes but felt that we left a bit on the table.

“So I think the car is genuinely performing pretty well the last few races. And I think the encouraging thing for us is that with stability of the rules over the winter, anything we learn this year we carry into RB16.”

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11 comments on “Austin showed progress Red Bull has made – Horner”

  1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    12th November 2019, 9:04

    Horner might as well mention that the Ferraris took a step backwards in Austin. that really helped RB

    1. pretty much, yeah.

      1. Yep, indeed @justarandomdutchguy, @bascb; Though it also has to be said that we don’t really know how Verstappen would have fared in several of the other races due to contact taking him out of contention, and the Honda new-PU penalty in Singapore, Austin was indeed very much the Ferrari’s not showing up in the race.

        And even if it is true what Horner said, I would have found it also a lot more reassuring if they hadn’t yet again been forces to claw back pace at the start of the year, which they have had to do with both of the last rule changes at the least: 2014 was very much the Renault PU too, so hard to judge whether the aero would otherwise have done better, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt; but both in 2017 and in 2019 they needed the first quarter/third of the season to get back up to speed, and this year they also had a struggling Ferrari to help Verstappen still gather good results during that. Track-side I think they are top notch, but I am not so sure any more about their aero/chassis decisions during the off-season being at the required level.

    2. That Ferrari took a step backwards at Austin and that RBR was there to capitalize, is racing, no? So if Mercedes is the reigning WCC team in the hybrid era, that’s not because they did a better job, but rather simply because others took backwards steps? Rather, Ferrari stumbled in Austin but RBR did not, and confirmed their steady onslaught of competitiveness as the season has gone along. Without that improvement over the season they may not have been there to capitalize on Ferrari’s Austin performance.

  2. What progress? Before the summer break, it was Verstappen that was the non-Mercedes driver most likely to challenge for the championship.

  3. They seemed to have a very slow start to the year, came on super strong towards the break but afterwards Ferrari seemed to have jumped both them and Mercedes. They’re fast and consistent but always seeming to be close but not close enough. Hopefully next year they’ll have the missing piece, or at the least have a much faster start to the season. If they do and next year they’re on par with Mercedes & Ferrari regularly I wouldn’t bet against them taking the title.

    1. @rocketpanda But coming strong and promising to rather start strong next season seems to be the story every year now. Soon there’s new regs 2021 and they will drop an even further step behind. It’s a shame.

      1. Let’s not forget this is their first season with Honda, setting aside the R&D season with STR in 2018. I predict only better and better things from this very young marriage. And I see absolutely no reason why they would take ‘an even further step behind’ in 2021, given that the slate will be wiped clean except for the pu’s and they have Adrian Newey, and of course next year for further Pu development.

        1. The same mentality can be applied to all engine manufacturers and the teams that partner with them… except that all other teams have more experience with their partners. Adrian Newey while undoubtedly a genius isn’t the best at producing a car quick straight out of the starting blocks, at in season development RBR are usually the series leader, but in later years Merc has been an undeniable monster in root cause analysis, able to throw huge resources at the analysis of apparent weaknesses. I can’t see RBR being able to drag themselves into a position so far ahead of Merc that they can’t be caught.

  4. RedBull has given away at least four wins due to driver mistakes. The five win prediction could have been realized.

    1. I disagree. Back up your argument with specifics.

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