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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