Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

Horner expects ‘more team orders’ and is prepared to tell Perez to give up home win

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says team orders are likely to play an increasingly significant role in the final stages of the world championship fight.

Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by 12 points going into this weekend’s race. Both drivers’ team mates have been called on to assist them in the championship already.

Horner indicated he is prepared to ask Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez to give up a home victory this weekend if needed, but admitted it would be “an incredibly tough” request to make of the Mexican driver.

“Our main objective is to win both championships and both drivers know the task involved to achieve that,” said Horner. “But of course so many scenarios, what-ifs can happen. It will depend where our opponents are.

“So you can’t rule it out, you can’t rule it on. Our preference would be to see, if Checo were in that position, for him to win his home race. There is no bigger result for a home driver.

“But as a team we have to keep an eye on both of these championships and know what’s at stake and this race, like any other, has the same number of points attributable to it.”

Former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel said yesterday he does not agree with the use of team orders and said Red Bull should be prepared to let Perez win his home race if he has the chance. Horner pointed out “Sebastian’s benefited and been on the receiving end of team orders” when asked by RaceFans about Vettel’s comments.

“Team orders are part of the sport being a team sport,” said Horner. “Formula 1 isn’t just about the drivers, the drivers are one element of the team, their contract is with the team and the constructors’ championship has equal and more weight to it. Perhaps not the prestige, but that it where the money is paid out.”

Horner expects to see greater use of team orders over the final races as Red Bull and Mercedes vie for the championships.

“Drivers are part of the team and we operate as a team and that’s why team orders sometimes are necessary for the best interest of the sport. I’ve no doubt you’ll see more and more of that at the sharp end of this championship over the remaining five races.

“We’ve seen it to date and we’ll see, as teams are going up against each other, whether it’s for first in the drivers or constructors or P3 in the constructors or whatever battles are going further beyond that, Formula 1 is a team sport. Everybody has their role to play as part of that team.”

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Author information

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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10 comments on “Horner expects ‘more team orders’ and is prepared to tell Perez to give up home win”

  1. Of course Sergio will be Max’s wingman in Mexico. Would Toto let Bottas win the Finnish GP if Lewis needed the points?

    1. Absolutely, same as I thought, and just saying, but if I agree with green flag these team orders must be REALLY a no brainer!

  2. I mean at this point it’s the only logical thing to do.

    But let’s be honest, unless there’s a sudden significant change in the two drivers’ abilities with this car, or somehow Max’s car is heavily damaged during the race, there’s not very many likely scenario’s where Perez would need to be given a team order to let Max past. Hell, this last race was a stand-out performance for Perez and he still finished two full pit-stops worth of time behind Max.

    1. @sjaakfoo I mean, Perez faded in the second half of the race, but he was without The Drink and had been unwell earlier in the weekend. The reason it’s being called a stand-out performance is because he came through adversity, not strictly because of the result alone.

      1. Ahah, the way you wrote the drink with capital first letter is a reference to raikkonen: “no, kimi, you will not have the drink!”.

      2. Fine, pick any one of the other races then if you need a second example without an excuse.

  3. I see the whole point of Red Bull being in F1 as a marketing exercise. Surely the damage to the brand by asking Perez to give up the home win would be greater than Verstappen possibly losing the championship due to not imposing team orders

  4. I would say we should all hope Horner is not forced to make that call. That is a Lose / Lose scenario for everyone involved except for Max. However, he would always carry the stink of that decision if he wins the championship that way.

    1. Oh come on, Bottas has been thrown in Verstappens path many times now to try and slow him down. Now there is a possibility of RBR being in a hypothetical situation where they actually might do it to Mercedes for once and you talk about “the stink”. Let’s keep things in the correct perspective please

      1. Indeed, there’s no way verstappen doesn’t deserve the title if he gains 7 points from such a team order, bottas took away more points from him, he lost more points in baku and hamilton took more points in silverstone too.

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