Horners’ Shock naming of the team most likely to threaten Verstappen

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner anticipates mounting pressure from Mercedes in the latter part of the season, following the notable progress displayed by the German team.

Observing the advancements made by Mercedes at the Spanish Grand Prix, Horner acknowledges their strengthened performance and foresees further improvements in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps something of a shock to many considering how poor the Mercedes car has been this season.


Mercedes, who faced a challenging start to the 2023 season after retaining the discontinued W13’s “zero-pod” concept, introduced a series of updates to their W14 during the Monaco Grand Prix.

However, due to the idiosyncrasies of the track, the evaluation of these upgrades was limited. The subsequent Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona provided a more conventional circuit for the team to assess and validate their new components, resulting in a double podium finish: Lewis Hamilton securing second place and George Russell claiming third.


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Horner thinks Mercedes a potential threat

When asked about his concerns regarding Mercedes’ progress after the Spanish Grand Prix, Horner responded with a smile, noting that they were still 24 seconds behind at the race’s conclusion. He acknowledged Mercedes’ significant progress but assured that Red Bull has its own developments in the pipeline, scheduled for later in the season.

Horner admits that “They’ve taken a good step forward, but we have things in the pipeline. They’ve introduced a big update, but we’ll have a few things coming later in the season too.”


Horner expressed confidence in Mercedes’ quality as a team and expected them to exert pressure on Red Bull during the latter half of the season: “But of course, for sure it’s a big step, they’re a quality team and for sure they’re going to put us under pressure in the second half of the season.”


High row over Pirelli mid season tyre change


Difficult to predict the pecking order

Despite Mercedes’ resurgence with their recent double podium, Horner admitted difficulty in determining the true hierarchy behind Red Bull following the Spanish Grand Prix.

“It’s evolving. You can look at Lando’s lap [Norris, third in qualifying in Spain], the Mercedes who were very strong in the race, while the Ferraris didn’t have the pace we thought they might have.”


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Horner points to Lando Norris’ strong qualifying lap, Mercedes’ impressive race pace, and the unexpected performance of the Ferrari team.

“There seems to be a lot of movement behind us at the moment. So it’s very difficult to predict who will be where and at what event,” concludes Horner.

Certainly, the ever-changing landscape behind Red Bull makes it challenging to predict the positions and outcomes of future events, according to Horner.


Following the Spanish Grand Prix, Red Bull maintains its lead in the Constructors’ World Championship, holding a 135-point advantage over Mercedes, who moved into second place after the completion of the seventh round of the season.

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