Horner not missing fight with Red Bull’s rivals: “I’m still recovering from 2021”

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner isn’t missing a close contest at the front of the field in Formula 1.

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In brief

Horner “still in recovery” from 2021 title fight

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he was not expecting the extent of Max Verstappen’s domination this season, and does not want that level of domination to stop.

“I think it’s beyond everybody’s wildest imagination to be sitting in this position now,” said Horner after Verstappen’s victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, which gave him a 125-point lead in the championship, the equivalent of five race wins.

Horner played down the extent of Verstappen’s advantage over his team mate Sergio Perez, who lies second in the championship. “It’s levels of superiority over everybody at the moment”, he said. “I think that generally it’s been outstanding and what we’re witnessing with Max at the moment is something that you see once in a generation”.

After Verstappen finished the Belgian Grand Prix half a minute ahead of the next car from a rival team, Horner said “not one ounce” of him wished for a closer competition with their rivals. “I think I’m still in recovery from 2021.”

Pirelli conduct wet tyre test at Spa

Aston Martin and McLaren were in action at Spa-Francorchamps yesterday testing wet weather tyres for Pirelli.

Oscar Piastri conducted the full day of running for McLaren, while Aston Martin used Lance Stroll for Tuesday and will call upon the services of Stoffel Vandoorne for Wednesday.

Pirelli confirmed that Piastri and Stroll were testing “different types of intermediate and extreme wet tyre with a view to 2024” during the first day of running. Stroll covered 70 laps with a fastest time of 1’57.697, while Piastri did 47 laps and was three seconds slower.

Vandoorne joined Aston Martin as reserve driver at the start of 2023 and today’s running will be his first on-track action with the team. He last raced in F1 in 2018, and was Formula E champion last year.

Indy Nxt line-ups change for Nashville

Two major changes have been made to the Indy Nxt entry list for this weekend’s race in Nashville.

Enaam Ahmed has dropped off the entry list and Matthew Brabham has taken his place in Cape Motorsports’ line-up for the weekend. Ahmed is currently 13th in the standings with a best finish of fourth, while Brabham has three series wins to his name and recently returned to Indy Nxt with a cameo appearance for Juncos Hollinger Racing.

His move to Cape left Juncos looking for someone to drive the car that was raced by Matteo Nannini for six weekends before he hit financial trouble. Victor Franzoni, who took the 2017 USF Pro 2000 title with the team and won for them in Indy Nxt in 2018, will return to them for the four remaining rounds on road and street courses.

Franzoni will not do the race on the Gateway oval later this month, leaving Juncos in need of another replacement.

Four young drivers enter Ferrari scouting camp

The first Ferrari Driver Academy scouting camp of 2023 is underway, and features four drivers. The camp consists of physical training, simulator work and testing in a Formula 4 car, with the participants fighting for the chance to make it to FDA’s Scouting World Finals.

Two Italian are among those taking part in the test. They are Giacomo Pedrini, who has already been busy this year testing in F4, and Francesco Marenghi who was the 2021 Italian champion on X30 Junior karts and now karts at a senior level.

The other two participants, Maciej Gladysz and Jan Przyrowski, are both from Poland. Former Sauber junior Gladysz won the junior-level FIA Karting Academy Trophy in 2021, and came fourth in the CIK-FIA World championship for OK-Junior karts last year.

Przyrowski beat him to the 2022 WSK Euro Series title, and they stepped up to OK karts together this year. Last weekend Przyrowski came 13th in the CIK-FIA European championship and Gladysz was 20th.

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Comment of the day

There’s an obvious problem with the calendar for Formula 1’s top junior category, reckons Stephen:

Currently the F2 season finishes about the same time as the Formula One season does, by which time all of the F1 seats have been contracted out.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to start the F2 season earlier in the year and to have it finish about this time of the year, so at least the F2 champion is known? All or most of the seats which were going to be open for contract this year are still available now, but they won’t be in November.
Stephen Crowsen

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Daniel, Nefer, Gilles De Wilde and Manox!

On this day in motorsport

  • 70 years ago today Formula 1’s first world champion Giuseppe Farina scored his final world championship victory in the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring Nordschleife

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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28 comments on “Horner not missing fight with Red Bull’s rivals: “I’m still recovering from 2021””

  1. Having the F2 season end earlier wouldn’t make any difference in the F2 champions chances of getting an F1 seat as the end results are not usually the thing F1 teams are looking at.

    They have people watching the junior categories, They collect a lot of data about what each driver is doing and will be looking at overall performance, consistency as well as stuff gathered from the teams in that series (Driver feedback, technical knowledge etc..).

    This is why you see cases where the championship winner misses out on an F1 race seat while drivers who finished behind get called up.

    The F1 teams simply don’t put as much weight on a driver winning the junior championships as fans do as they look beyond that. It’s a nice extra bonus if a driver they are looking at has that achievement but it’s not the ultimate deciding factor.

    1. Verstappen for example impressed in several races, particularly a wet one at norisring and red bull decided to call him to toro rosso, despite him being 3rd that season in that championship and the fact ocon was 1st, even though there was some reliability difference in there which hampered verstappen, as well as ocon having a better team, from what I heard.

      1. @esploratore1 That is correct van Amersfoort Racing Team is just midfield team with VW engines while Ocon was in the best team with Mercedes engines. If Max didn’t had so many DNF due technical failures he would be 1 just look at the amount of wins between them i think Max had 10 while Ocon had 3. The battles at Spa were super and that is why Max loves Spa so much as he is really very good there.

        1. Yes, so makes absolute sense red bull went for verstappen rather than ocon, he was the one who stood out the most, and true, verstappen’s superiority at spa is often more than at other tracks.

    2. @gt-racer
      I hadn’t thought about such insight on this subject before, which also makes me understand Gasly’s overlooking for a full 2017 season despite winning the GP2 championship in the previous year better.
      In hindsight, however, why he didn’t win that championship in a dominant manner, he still should’ve got that promotion, given Kvyat was already struggling for performance.

      1. @jerejj There was a lot of uncertainty around Gasly because he hadn’t won a race in any category for 4 years and had been fairly inconsistent.

        He had a great season in 2016 when he won the championship but it was his 3rd season in F2 and his rookie teammate Antonio Giovinazzi actually looked the faster of the 2 & managed to win 2 races while Gasly was still waiting to get his 1st win in 4 years. And Giovinazzi also ended up with more wins & would have won the championship with a bit more luck.

    3. @gt-racer I’m sure that is true, but there is also superlicence points to consider. Teams might not want to hedge their bets on drivers when they don’t know for sure which drivers will have the necessary superlicence points to sign them up for F1.

  2. Besides what’s already mentioned regarding COTD, Abu Dhabi (to my knowledge) pays to hold the F2 finale as they do with F1.

  3. Aren’t we all. Absolutely low season for F1 in many many ways. Hope we never repeat it.

    1. Liberty might disagree, looking at the viewing figures for the Highlights on YouTube there’s been a massive decrease in interest. From a usual 7 to 8 million in 2021 to about 5 now.

      1. I know they disagree. They created 2021 for exactly that reason. That is why it to me is the worst season.

        1. All depends on your perspective.

          I’m with you: It was the worst season in a long time for me, but that’s because I want to see a sporting and technical competition, not made-for-TV drama. Many serious fans of motorsport feel the same way.

          However, most people out there are not serious fans of motorsport. The 2021 season suited casual fans or the average man on the street much better than a normal season. We may have seen how manufactured it was, but the majority just saw a close competition for the championship and massive drama between the two contenders. If Liberty are just chasing eyeballs, 2021 was ideal for them. Even if they had lost the serious fans, they’d more than make up for it if every season was like that.

        2. If they had the motive and means then, they presumably still do. Yet they haven’t done much of anything to make 2022 and 2023 exciting. I’m sure there is plenty of behind-the-scenes frustration that F1 faces a repeat of years-long dominance at at time when Liberty’s various public statements about the valuation of F1 indicate they’re at the very least testing the waters for an eventual sale.

          The 2021 season was nevertheless rather contrived for the reasons mentioned, but most of that falls on the FIA. They finally paid the price for over twenty years of subservience to the teams and fostering a culture in which a single race director had far too much power and influence over the entire governance of the sport, which includes the questionable-by-design stewards. Indeed, the perhaps most galling decisions in terms of racing (Silverstone and Brazil) fall squarely on the stewards.

    2. José Lopes da Silva
      2nd August 2023, 11:34

      I don’t think we should rate a whole season just because of what happened in Silverstone

      1. Heheh, nice one. But I was of course referring to the entire season. It might have ended with the right champion (imho) but it was rigged and staged to the bone. RB pit stop advantage taken away by introducing a minimum time limit. In season change of the tires which brought the Mercs back in the game suddenly. Mercedes enforcing a restriction on RB wings to subsequently having a shady one themselves. Mercedes not following the spirit of the maximum nr of engines concept but turning it into an advantage (only because of having the financial means). Then there was lenient follow-up from race control about Silverstone and Hungary incidents. Throw away of season. Unless you like a circus and don’t care about sports.

        1. Oh and to top it of I should of course also mention lenient follow-up of Brasil and the AD final mistake. Not a fine year at all. People involved should be ashamed of themselves.

        2. Indeed, plenty of unfair changes and unfair penalties, like silverstone, which was a slap on the wrist for hamilton, I agree in the end the best driver of the season won, because verstappen was very unlucky that season and masi’s questionable decision only slightly rebalanced that, not completely, points-wise, and ofc brazil’s forcing both the opponent and going off the track himself and not having any penalty was very strange too that it went unpenalised.

  4. “different types of intermediate and extreme wet tyre”
    – Is the ‘extreme wet tyre’ a level above ‘regular wet tyre’? Or is the same thing? We used to have ‘monsoon tyres’ for extreme wet as a level above normal wet.

    1. Pirelli’s current Extreme Wet Tyre essentially is a ‘monsoon’ tyre.
      It’s aggressively aimed at extremely wet conditions to avoid any reasonable chance of aquaplaning – which is exactly why it performs poorly in less wet conditions. It’s not designed to.
      The intermediate is more like a ‘regular’ wet tyre – with a very wide operating window wet to dry, and also thermally.

      The question people are asking, however, is should the Extreme Wet be less extreme? Making it so would lead to a larger crossover period between the wet and inter.
      What it wouldn’t do, though, is allow the cars to run in any wider range of conditions.

      1. The current wets, IMHO, are designed for conditions we are unlikely to ever race in. They are only ever run behind the SC in order to clear standing water from the track. As soon as it’s good enough to go racing, they hit the inters. This seems… sub-optimal.

        1. That’s pretty much true. However, the drivers don’t really want tyres that aquaplane in conditions safe enough to drive through for a few laps if the occasion comes about, do they. Nor do they want wets that are so hard they are unable to make sufficient temperature to get them through that short period.

          The fact remains that ‘inter’ conditions are the wettest the modern F1 car can compete in – and it’s not at all because of the tyres.

      2. I agree about those wet tyres being basically monsoon tyres, because it’s true that the fia is being overly cautious at letting them race in heavy rain, but example in the spa practice there was quite a bit more water than in the competitive sessions (at least when they let them start, considering they delayed those to reduce water) and the few drivers who went ahead with intermediates still got a 2.03 time, 4 sec faster than the drivers on full wets, and something like this also happened early on in the spa quali in 2021, so a situation where intermediates are 18 seconds or so slower than slicks is still not enough to make full wets viable, by the looks of it conditions would have to be so bad they’d be at least 10 sec slower on inters and that’s just not going to happen nowadays, it used to happen in the 80s and 90s, but even then that was borderline, there were races like australia 1991, which were stopped permanently (or more recently malaysia 2009) when rain got that heavy.

    2. No, the rules outline the following compounds must be provided by the supplier (Pirelli): three compounds of dry weather tyres, one intermediate tyre, and one wet tyre. Optionally, experimental dry weather tyres may be brought for testing purposes.

      Unless I misremember, the so-called “Extreme” tyres was just Bridgestone’s term for their wet tyre. Intermediate tyres are, after all, also wet tyres. There may have been three kinds of wet tyres before (intermediate/wet/extreme) but I don’t recall that being the case since the 1990s.

      1. Yes, I don’t think it was the case either, I’m watching some old races and I’m hearing about only 3 tyres: slicks, intermediates, wets, for example in the famous spa 1998, drivers generally started with intermediates, then the rain intensified a bit mid race, many drivers went off, and so they started pitting for wets and stayed like that till the end, the early fastest lap went unbeaten, as wets were several seconds slower.

  5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    2nd August 2023, 14:14

    I’m still recovering from 2021

    That’s priceless – is Red Bull covering Mercedes’ therapy fees?

    That might be the only valid excuse for Red Bull to exceed the budget. “Hey, we’re paying $10 million to cover the therapy fees for Mercedes after the FIA intentionally awarded us the championship in the tightest championship fight ever”.

    1. Not sure if there is enough budget to pay for wolffs therapy.
      There will be enough to give lewis some racing directions how not to torpedo other drivers form the inside line. A bit his standard action (Albon, Verstappen, Perez come to mind) and almost never really punished. 5 seconds is a joke.
      Its a question of when he goes to far with it ( like in Silverstone) and somebody really gets hurt.

  6. Changing the timing of the F2 season wouldn’t make much difference, if any.
    The top teams in F1 already have their prospective/development drivers under contract by the time they’ve reached F2. And know who they plan to seriously consider as they’ve worked with them.

    From there its more a case of young drivers competing to validate their place in the queue for whichever team’s internal ladder they’re a part of.

  7. Which is interesting since the number 1 victim of 2021 seems to have gotten over it.

Comments are closed.