Horner insists Red Bull always treated drivers equally after Perez comments

2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has insisted his team always strives to give its drivers an equal chance after Sergio Perez described them as having previously been a one-car operation.

Perez told media in Australia yesterday he felt the team “were just going racing with two cars because they had to” when he joined Max Verstappen in their line-up for 2021.

Horner said he was surprised by his driver’s comments. “That’s the first I’ve heard him saying that,” he said.

“We always have run two cars since we entered the sport in 2005. We always want to have the best two drivers we can in the car.”

Perez has raised his game since joining the team in challenging circumstances two years ago, said Horner. “It’s great to see Checo doing a great job now.

“In ’21 he came into the car off the back of the Covid season and at the end of a set of regulations and he struggled with that car. Last year he was definitely more at home in the car and two of our 17 victories he achieved. He’s got out of the blocks well again this year.”

Red Bull gave equal status to its previous driver pairings including the likes of Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and others, said Horner.

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“As a team we’ve always strived to give both drivers the best opportunity and the best equipment we can. Then it’s down to what they do on-track.

“That’s whether it’s Max and Checo or Daniel and Max or Daniel and Seb or Mark and Seb or you can go back to David Coulthard and Mark Webber. That’s the way we’ve always rolled and it’s down to what they do on the circuit at the end of the day that counts.”

After the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Perez expressed surprise that Verstappen had taken the bonus point for fastest lap away from him at a time when he believed both drivers had been told to control their pace. Although the scale of Red Bull’s superiority means it is likely the championship will be won by one of their drivers, Horner believes “there’s no reason why” that should lead to any animosity between the pair.

“They’re both competitive drivers and they’re both racing drivers at the end of the day,” he said. “They know the rules of engagement in terms of, it’s team first.”

Having begun the year with a significant performance advantage over their rivals, Horner says Red Bull must ensure they score as many points as they can at this stage. They face tighter restrictions than their rivals on how much aerodynamic development work they can conduct this year, partly due to their constructors’ championship win in 2022, and partly due to their penalty for exceeding the budget cap in 2021. Horner expects that will help other teams close on them later in the season.

“We know we don’t have the development capability other teams have in terms of wind tunnel time as the season goes on,” he said. “So for us it’s hugely important to bag as many points as we can, get as many into the championships as we can early on, because we know the others are going to come back at us in the second half of the year.”

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2023 Australian Grand Prix

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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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12 comments on “Horner insists Red Bull always treated drivers equally after Perez comments”

  1. That.Is.Hilarious.

  2. “We treat both our drivers, Max and Perez, equally.”

    1. Love the joke @terrion.

  3. I think both Perez as Verstappen get equal material, but I do think that Max gets the preferential treatment at Red Bull when it comes to strategics or team orders. But Verstappen and Perez are also not equal material. In the time that Perez has been with Red Bull, he won 4 races and Verstappen won 26. Granted, there have been races that were won by Verstappen that also could have been won by Perez, but that also applies to the 4 races that Perez won. There is no fight within Red Bull, at the end of the year Verstappen will be 100+ points ahead. And it’s not because I want that to happen, but because Verstappen is objectively better than Perez.

    1. I realize that I didn’t read Perez’ comments well. I thought he was complaining, but he is saying that his predecessors, unlike himself, did not get an equal treatment.

      1. Oh, that’s interesting @matthijs – I hadn’t read those comments either.

    2. Giving the best strategies to the guy in front is not preferential treatment, just smart. And I agree that Max is so much better than Perez that it will be very unlikely that Perez is the guy in front.

      But hey, at least Horner didn’t call him a wingman.

  4. Hotner: We theath both our drivers equally so now it’s Daniels turn.

  5. Horner can say it. Doesn’t mean anyone believes him

  6. This debate is getting rather boring just two races in…

  7. Mark in Florida
    31st March 2023, 16:20

    All team drivers are equal, some are just more equal than others.

  8. It’s highly improbable that Perez will be in first place given how much better Max is.

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