Horner sees red over Ferrari's 'insane' power advantage

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB14.
© XPB 

Red Bull has admitted that it was shocked to see how much more power Ferrari had been able to bring to the British Grand Prix at the weekend, compared to the performance of its own Renault engines.

"We were just hugely exposed [on Sunday], in both defence and attack," team principal Christian Horner said.

He said that the difference had been particularly apparent when the race restarted after a safety car period, with Max Verstappen vying for position with Kimi Raikkonen.

"You could see at the restart with Kimi: it was a bit like Mexico 2015 the amount of additional power," Horner said. "We ran our qualifying mode at the restart versus Kimi's and you can see the difference.

"You could see how hard Max was having to work to keep Kimi behind him, their overspeed at the restart was insane," he said. "And at the second restart he had a moment at Stowe yet was still all over Max into turns 2 and 3."

Verstappen himself said it felt like he was competing in a different championship to the Raikkonen.

"If you're missing 70 to 80 horsepower you know you're going to struggle," Verstappen said. "On the straight it looked like we were in a different series."

"I don't know exactly the amount but if you lose more than a second on the straight then you know it's a lot."

Asked if it had felt like he was driving a Formula 2 support series car, Verstappen answered simply: "Yes!"

Nor was it just Verstappen. Horner pointed to Daniel Ricciardo's inability to challenge Valtteri Bottas, even when the Finn was struggling with tyre issues late in the race.

"He just couldn't attack Valtteri while having a superior tyre and grip and performance," noted an exasperated Horner. "Even with the DRS open we were still dropping back.

"The problem with Silverstone now is that it's such a wide open throttle circuit," he explained. "You're talking 82 per cent in qualifying full throttle.

"Corners like Copse, Becketts, Stowe are not quite the challenge they were in these cars - everybody is flat through Copse now.

"It just scrubs speed, so it's made it much more power-centric," he said. "That's when the power really kicks in. And we see it time and time again: turn 3 at Barcelona, turn 3 in Sochi, turn 7 in Austria. It's a known issue.

"In qualifying I think every single corner we were quicker than Sebastian, but we just hose time down the straights."

Red Bull is to break with Renault at the end of the season, although Horner admitted that as things stood the Japanese manufacturer was no closer than Renault to matching Ferrari's level of power and performance.

"Honda and Renault are in a similar situation at the moment," he agreed. "However, it is all about potential and development.

"We really believe in what is in the pipeline at Honda to close the gap," Horner added. "With Renault it's the same story year after year. But at Honda we see good progress, so it seems like the right choice.

"It's just time for a change."

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