“Strange” tyre degradation cost Red Bull win to Ferrari – Horner

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team need to understand the tyre degradation problems they encountered during yesterday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

However he was encouraged that the team was able to minimise its losses to closest rivals Ferrari over the weekend.

The team felt it was on a par with Ferrari in terms of tyre degradation after Max Verstappen won Saturday’s sprint race, Horner told media at the Red Bull Ring yesterday.

“When you look at the sprint race, we pushed a bit harder at the beginning, paid a little bit at the end, but over the whole stint [it] was, on our analysis, identical to that of Ferrari,” Horner said.

Rain fell at the circuit between the sprint race and the grand prix. On Sunday Verstappen found it much harder to contain the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr.

“So the only thing that’s changed overnight is the rain, the temperature slightly and, of course, the fuel load. So we just need to understand why in that first stint our deg was significantly worse than Charles and Carlos.”

Red Bull reacted quickly when Verstappen was passed by Leclerc early in the race. “Once we got ourselves into that position, we converted immediately to a two-stop, but they had the sufficient pace that they were able then to cover with a two-stop,” said Horner.

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“The VSC brought us back into play at the end of the race but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be today. But one of those things.”

Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
Verstappen found he lacked “overall grip” as his tyre performance deteriorated quicker than Red Bull expected. “So there’ll be plenty to go through next week.”

“It was strange today,” Horner admitted. “Just one week ago at Silverstone we looked pretty decent on deg as well.

“I think the problem is tyres are quite sensitive and if you’re not in the right window with them then you can pay a penalty in terms of degradation which a lot of teams did today.”

However with Verstappen winning the sprint race and taking fastest lap on his way to second in the grand prix, Horner said Red Bull had kept their losses to a minimum.

“I would say this weekend was damage limitation. We’ve managed to get the pole, get the sprint victory, the second place today.

“I think Max has only lost five points to Charles in the drivers’ and obviously damage has been relatively contained in the constructors’.”

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2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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Claire Cottingham
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13 comments on ““Strange” tyre degradation cost Red Bull win to Ferrari – Horner”

  1. Just looking back at the two last Grand Prix weekends, where effectively, Red Bull just had to do damage limitation. It’s absolutely amazing how with a serious performance deficit due to a damaged floor, they only managed to lose 6 points at Silverstone. Then .. with a clear difference in tyre deg compared to both the Ferraris they only managed to lose 5 points over the entire race weekend in Austria (their sprint race pole and fastest lap reduced the damage by a further 2 points to Leclerc)

    If this is what a Red Bull struggling looks like, I really can’t see Ferrari overhauling that nearly 40 point deficit.

    1. Yes, it’s ferrari not taking chances ofc, especially in terms of strategy, I’d say monaco and silverstone the most glaring issues, as leclerc had a 5 sec gap before the pit window started in both cases, I don’t think we can blame ferrari for throwing away a 1-2 in austria cause of unreliability, cause red bull had plenty of issues of their own in that sense this year, including one that gave ferrari their only 1-2 of the year.

  2. I guess VER wanted to stay out of DRS range and pushed more so had more tyre deg. Maybe next time just run 2nd in drs range to manage tyres?
    It was clear ferrari had the better race pace this weekend could/should have been a 1-2. Hope we will keep this battle till the end of the season although reliability will play a big part in the WDC this year

    1. in the second stint he was managing the tyres after several laps they gave the green to push.

  3. Glad Max didn’t run away with the race, it was setting up that way in the first 10 laps.

    The Merc is getting better, George did a great job coming from nearly last place to finish 4th. A little more speed on the straights and the Merc will begin to fight up front. I think we will have to wait until new tech regs are in place for the floor before this happens.

  4. Not that I wanted VER to win by any means, but I think a good chance to do that appeared with SAI’s retirement, more exactly taking the risk of putting Softs in the final pit-stop… the way Ferrari/SAI should have tried in Canada. After all, I guess it’s not only Ferrari that misses opportunities, but the others too.

    1. Considering how the tyres consistently went off on the Red Bull it would have been foolish to put the softs on considering even cars that were conserving their tyres better weren’t able to make them last.

    2. What set of used tires would you put under a tire-eating Redbull? Had it been a red flag, with a standing restart, or even a full safety car, I guess the soft would’ve made a bit of sense, but in a VSC situation the soft would be dead before the gap is closed…

  5. Tires have a tough time trying to drag the car around the track with the retractable floor extended.

    1. They’re even more in trouble to keep a car on track when the load of the car is more on the skid blocks than on the rear tires.

  6. Seems like RB got caught out by the track conditions on Sunday and maybe put too much emphasis on qualifying and the sprint. Had the Ferraris not fought so hard during the first laps of the sprint, Leclerc might’ve even got a chance at overtaking Verstappen in the final few laps on Saturday. The Ferrari already looked more consistent during the sprint.
    The race was pretty much over for Verstappen after a few laps, because it was pretty clear the Ferrari was much better on its tyres after the first 6 or 7 laps. Although pitting Verstappen early was the right call for RB, it put him in a weaker position as he had to either extend his stints more than the Ferraris or pit once more than Leclerc and Sainz (I’m pretty sure RB would’ve gone for 3 stops anyway, regardless of the VSC).

    I’m not too worried for RB, because their lack of pace or consistency had more to do with the track conditions changing from Saturday to Sunday than a general problem with high tyre wear on their car. Much like Ferrari getting caught out last year at Paul Ricard on a green track with graining and high tyre wear.
    I don’t expect to see a repeat of RB’s tyre troubles at the next round at Paul Ricard, also because the circuit there is more front limited.

    1. @srga91

      To be honest.. Red Bull was absolutely on point with their strategy on raceday. They knew they didn’t have the tyre deg required to do a 1 stop and that their only hope was to pull a two stopper and pressure Ferrari in to either defending on old hards or doing a 2nd stop and having to regain position. It’s the overly powerful DRS zones that gave away the race win to Red Bull

  7. “Nothing much changed other than the rain, the lower temperatures and the fuel loads”

    So just a few major changes then Christian?

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