Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Red Bull and AlphaTauri drivers ‘not working as one team’ – Horner

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has clarified how the four drivers contracted to the team in Formula 1 are expected to handle each other on-track.

The relationship between teams and junior drivers they have placed at rival outfits became a focus of debate following the collision between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell at Imola.

Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff said Russell, the team’s junior driver who races for Williams, risked too much in his fight for position with one of the works team’s cars. Russell has accepted Wolff’s view, and said yesterday he will consider Bottas and Lewis Hamilton as his team mates in the same way he does fellow Williams driver Nicholas Latifi.

Red Bull’s four drivers are split across its two teams – Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the senior squad, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri. However Horner said the quartet are not instructed to work together.

George Russell, Williams, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021
Russell regards the Mercedes drivers as his team mates
“In Red Bull’s case, all drivers are Red Bull racing drivers and they’re assigned obviously to AlphaTauri. But there’s no instruction to work effectively as one team.

“There’s a request to respect the fellow members but that said, they’re free to race and race each other hard, as we’ve seen on numerous occasions. But there’s no instruction to collude or anything along those lines.”

Wolff denied he had imposed rules on Russell and Bottas following his conversations with them about the crash.

“I want most of it to stay confidential because I had discussions with both of the drivers,” he said.

“Drivers have to go for a gap. Sometimes it’s evaluating whether it’s taking a risk. I guess that a young driver will always go for the possibility and nothing else is expected. And the question is, is there enough reaction time to evaluate who is the other car? I think not.

“So in a way, there is never 100 percent blame on one and zero on the other one. It’s probably always much more nuanced and I’m really happy about the conversation we had. There is no confusion on any side and there is no rules for any of the drivers. It’s just us giving feedback.”

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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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11 comments on “Red Bull and AlphaTauri drivers ‘not working as one team’ – Horner”

  1. there is no rules for any of the drivers. It’s just us giving feedback

    Slimey tongued double speak.

    When the one who controls your career “gives feedback” you follow that “feedback” or risk finding yourself unemployed. Rule or not.

    1. @skipgamer Did LH and NR risk unemployment when they had to be managed? Or did they simply heed the advise that it is not within the teams best interest overall for them to be so selfish that they take each other out and risk zero points? The same advise many many teammates over the years have been given as we well know…you don’t take out your own teammate and yourself…yet it can happen on occasion. How often has it happened enough between two blokes that the result was ‘unemployment?’

      1. Cool story. Except they aren’t team mates…

        1. Except for this unique scenario TW and GR are obviously thinking of it that way. Only a matter of time, as in next year anyway, that GR will be at Mercedes.

  2. Considering the way the promotions and demotions between Red Bull and Toro Rosso / Alpha Tauri have been, I would say the drivers of these 4 teams race especially hard against each other.
    Also, the Red Bull junior program actually promotes their drivers to the main squad, no matter how harsh the test seems to be for many. Do you drive for Alpha Tauri and want to prove you are worth a drive at Red Bull? What a better way than overtaking one of their cars! Do you want to show them how wrong they were to demote you? Same thing.
    Many people mentioned how Bottas shouldn’t have been in a place where a Williams can challenge him, and that’s true. The same happened when Albon, in his Toro Rosso, overtook Gasly, in Red Bull, a few times. But Red Bull is harsher with their new drivers. Either you show you are worth it or you get back to the small team.

    1. 2 teams. Oops

    2. Indeed, I was always like “instant replacement” when a toro rosso driver overtook a red bull one in recent years.

  3. There is a difference with TW and GR as GR is ‘TW’s’ driver, whereas with Horner the AT drivers are not under his wing to manage. Just saying that as a fact, not as strike for or against what Horner has said nor what TW has said, and that GR is TW’s driver has been pointed out in the article too.

  4. Russell drives for Williams not Toto Wolff – he manages Russell’s career but Wolff’s opinions or influence should have no bearing on what Russell does in a different team’s car. While Russell is contracted to drive a Williams-Mercedes, whatever Wolff – as team boss of Mercedes would wish him to do is categorically irrelevant, and that man having the capacity to dictate another’s career directly or indirectly has to be a conflict of interest. As a result of that if I were in charge of Williams I’d consider Russell a liability, his loyalty is clearly not to who he drives for but to Wolff.

    1. I know you keep taking the heavy-handed approach to this even when TW clarifies there is no collusion, just a request that GR and VB keep it clean between themselves next time. Frankly I don’t think there will likely be another time they are so close to each other let alone in such a risky scenario track-condition wise. He is saying they are free to race each other and race each other hard. I don’t know what more you could want given that GR is a Mercedes driver and the heir apparent to VB’s seat. I think the paddock gets this.

      TW has not instructed in any way for GR to collude to help LH or VB win a race. You are way off the mark insulting GR by suggesting his loyalty is to TW and not to Williams and therefore he is a liability. They whole thing started with GR taking his Williams and aggressively going at VB in a search for rare points. He’s obviously hardly a puppet, and that goes back to his performance subbing for LH too. I’m sure GR is a far higher quality person than you are giving him credit for, and he knows he also hurts Williams when he takes himself out with any driver, and will likely keep that in mind just as much as the less likely scenario that he will once again be racing VB.

  5. The problem with TW run drivers is the way they seem to honor his wishes.
    Remember the Ocon action on Verstappen, handing the win to Hamilton.

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