Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Red Bull’s oil supplier deserves credit for speed boost – Horner

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner rebuffed further claims by Lewis Hamilton that the team has introduced an upgrade to its power unit this year.

He said a new oil introduced by the team, plus declining performance from Mercedes’ power unit, explains the difference in power between the two teams.

Engine manufacturers are not allowed to revise their power units this year except to correct reliability problems. Hamilton has repeatedly stated Red Bull received an “upgrade” when Honda brought new engines at last week’s race in France, a claim Horner has consistently rejected.

“We have a new oil from ExxonMobil so I think they should take full credit for Lewis’ pointing at the engines,” said Horner in response to a question from RaceFans. “The engines are homologated, it’s the same spec.”

Mercedes replaced the power units in their cars one race before Red Bull did. Horner suggested this was done because the performance of their previous units declined more quickly than expected.

“It’s unusual for Mercedes to have had to change so early in the year as they did,” he said. “They seem to have, perhaps higher degradation this year than in previous years.

“But as I say, all we can do is focus on our own job. And another great performance by Honda, our 10th victory with Honda now in under three years. So it’s so far so good.”

Red Bull has also run a slimmer, lower-drag rear wing than Mercedes in recent races, allowing them to achieve higher top speeds.

“It’s undoubted that Honda have done a great job over the winter but just look at the configurations of the car,” said Horner.

“They’ve got a barn door on the back of their car for this race and we had a pretty skinny rear wing. So, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out why we’re potentially a bit quicker on the straights.”

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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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31 comments on “Red Bull’s oil supplier deserves credit for speed boost – Horner”

  1. Oh well i don’t like neither Toto or Horner. At least Toto was politically all the previous years respectful to the other teams.

    But “barn door for rear wing” it is hilarious, isn’t it?

    1. Agree on Toto and Horner.

    2. Yeah Horner is a self-entitled jerk it really comes out in that Netflix series DtS. Toto is used to being smug and now he is out of his comfort zone haha

  2. In this case I actually have to give it to Horner – he is right about the rear wing. And I can see how them pushing the engine might make it harder to keep the top notch performance coming.

    Interesting to see how things pan out with the intense competition.

  3. Honda can never seem to get their timing right…they decide to exit F1 one year, the team is bought, Brawn GP wins constructor and driver championship the very next year. Now as an engine supplier, 2021 is their last year, and their engines in both the Red Bull and the Alpha Tauri are performing and at this point it seems likely given Merc’s focus on 2022 they will once again win constructor’s and drivers championships.

    Honda always getting out just when the getting gets good.

    Reply moderated
    1. Coventry Climax
      28th June 2021, 0:29

      Honda timed it perfectly. They had lost face in the McLaren period, not in the least by dear old mr. Alonso’s remarks, and they sought -and worked their behinds of to get it – ‘revenge’.
      The season isn’t over yet, but they can leave F1 with raised heads, and the commercial damage repaired.
      Mission completed.

  4. I forsee redbull with some engine failures towards the end of the year. I think they running their engines at a higher mode which reduces longevity. While the mercs r running their engines more lower. They need to get ontop of the aero loss from the fia rule which has hampered them this year.

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      27th June 2021, 19:04

      I thought the same, except they actually changed their engine a full raceweekend later than Mercedes. And came with one with even better reliability

      1. Yeah I’m not sure about the Honda reliability issue. As you say it was actually Mercedes who changed their PU earlier in the season so if anyone looks like they have reliability issues its Merc.

  5. Nice comeback by Horner highlighting their oil supplier, to basically make the accusation backfire on Mercedes main sponsor Petronas

    1. Coventry Climax
      28th June 2021, 0:32

      It’s very dangerous that Horner says this, because now mr. Wolff wil start complaining to the FIA about Red Bulls oils being illegal – or unsafe, wichever they feel they can sell to the FIA best.

      1. For budget cap reasons (not red bull) all lubricants must follow 2020 specs.

        1. Could you explain this because i think Lubricants companies can do anything what they will as it’s not on Red Bulls budget. It’s Shell, Petronas, Mobil and ect. their bussines what they deliver to their teams.

  6. Jockey Ewing
    27th June 2021, 19:46

    Max already knows: there is no oil like the E-wing oil.
    It is good like the best dry barn doors from the 18th century Texas, it burns without a puff off smoke.
    Btw, no accusation here, I just wanted to have fun :P

  7. Good marketing move for Horner but I doubt this is true or at least entirely true

  8. Is it the wing or the allinol exxon has supplied? I’m confused. How can a lubricant create a meaningful increase in power at this level of the engines development. Unless you are burning it in the engine. Wait…

    1. Not really
      Exxon probably has petroleum Engineers playing with the Chemistry of the oil
      Less Carbon atoms, more Oxygen atoms?

    2. Perhaps the oil has better thermal stability allowing the engine to run at a higher power setting / temperature without “flashing off”?
      Completely plausible.

      1. Or run cooler and require less drag via intake and venting? I mean everyone has fancy oil which is put under a spectrometer after every session. It would be remarkable if a new lubricant came out this far into this engine formula with a measurable performance benefit. Just for the engineering nerding out aspect I’d like to hear more, unless Horner is just trolling.

        Reply moderated
  9. So Hamilton is basically saying the FIA are all incompetent and have been bamboozled by Honda, who have somehow sneaked a full blown engine upgrade through right under the FIA’s noses. Quite the accusation, all the more so as he’s doing it without any evidence to back up his bold claims.

    For entertainment purposes, Horner is a great foil to Wolff. Highlighting Red Bull’s counterpart to Mercedes’ title sponsor is quite amusing, if somewhat obvious in its intent to provoke a response from Petronas.

    1. Coventry Climax
      28th June 2021, 0:40

      That is indeed exactly what he is saying. And it’s in line with the game they’ve resorted to at Mercedes, now they’re no longer the unthreatened no. 1; try to disrupt the flow of your opponent as much as possible. Doesn’t matter if it’s true, doesn’t matter if it works with the FIA (which are indeed incompetent, for so frequently falling for such things in the first place), just keep it coming, as long as it creates unpleasantness within the other team(s).

    2. I’m trying to see where it’s been reported here or elsewhere that hamilton has exactly said anything like Honda have an illegal upgrade. He’s said that Honda have more power now, or less drag or more aero efficiency. Ironically Horner has now said they have more engine performance thanks to special oil. So this has all been cleared up. Pitchforks can be returned to the barn. Honda have more power.

      1. Lewis and Toto have sung in unison for quite sometime this tune of “upgraded engine” from Honda, even if it was only alluding. When they dont have any proof, they resort to saying the same things they need media to pick up, so it becomes a buzz and casts doubt over the rivals. And also it makes the FIA take a closer look, which in the case of Ferrari oil burning disaster was warranted.

        Nothing Lewis says these days is unrehearsed (remember his comments on the RBR flappy wing? Those were surely pointed out to him by Merc’s aero team who probably instructed him to get it out in the open).

        Reply moderated
    3. @cashnotclass Well they suddenly see an increase in power from Honda.

  10. Slightly off-topic… but got me thinking… on the current grid, old boys and new… only 1 driver has driven all the engines from the current manufactures… and that’s Fernando Alonso – in this order
    Renault
    Mercedes
    Renault
    Ferrari
    Honda
    Renault

    And now that the Honda engine is delivering wins and reliability… makes me wonder how does Mclaren & Alonso feel about it. :P

    just some food for thought.

    Reply moderated
  11. The whole fuel and oil situation seems odd to me. It seems to me if you want close racing, or more affordable racing, you would homogenize the oil and fuel supplies.

    1. I think you are probably right, @slotopen. However, if you want multiple fuel and oil sponsors, you have to leave in this development area. Otherwise it’s a Pirelli situation.

      1. @hobo queue the “we can’t run our engines hard enough with this oil”. “This fuel wears our ICE”. Can see it already.

        1. @justrhysism – All engine development is now oil development. New oil is 75hp bump. :)

          @ruliemaulana – Hahaha!

    2. Not sure “homogenize” is the correct term, but I could be mixing things up.
      Also not likely the FIA would want to push a common oil or fuel on the teams as there are lots of $pon$or$hip deals signed up.
      The “road relevance ECO-Push” is going to show up in new organically derived and mandated fuels in the very neat future. Some alchemist needs to formulate and produce the stuff.

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