Horner 'excited' to see what happens in 2021

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal. 11.12.2020. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Practice Day.
© XPB 

Red Bull team principal Christina Horner says he's looking forward to the start of the new season and excited to see what will happen in 2021.

The sport's technical rules are unchanged this year meaning that the cars will be broadly the same as last year's counterparts. That could work to Red Bull's advantage and allow them to further close the performance gap to Mercedes

"You know the engineers," Horner said. "If you allow them to change something, they do it. Probably every detail would then be optimised again. The rules have somewhat restricted this process."

As the new car shares a large percentage of its design with last year's model it's been designated the RB16B instead of the expected RB17.

"It's more honest to call the car RB16B," Horner told German sports publication Auto Motor Und Sport. "The next model for 2022 will be RB18, which is why there will never be an RB17."


The continuity means that Red Bull is hoping it can pick up this season where it left off in December, when Max Verstappen beat Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to win in the season finale at Abu Dhabi.

"The question is how far below [their full potential] Mercedes were there and what the effect was of having to cut performance because of reliability issues," noted Horner.

"The win was good for us, but I'm afraid it was has also helped to motivate Mercedes even more," he warned. "But you still have to beat them [when you can] ... We are racers from top to bottom in the team."

All teams are now having to prepare for a major shake up in 2022 while coming to terms with the introduction of a new budget cap intended to curb the spending of the big teams.

"It is already difficult enough to make the jump for 2022," Horner said. "It's made even worse by the budget cap that affects Mercedes and Ferrari as well as us.

"You have to exercise extreme caution where you invest your money. You no longer have the luxury of investing your money in two programs working in parallel for 2021 and 2022.

"The decision-making process on how to distribute your resources is a completely new dimension," he acknowledged. "You have to be as efficient as you are in everything you do this year be possible and see 2022 as a challenge where you can't give anything away.

"It will be exciting to see what strategies the teams are going for," he predicted. "The effect on next year's car is much greater than usual because we are really starting from zero again."

Fortunately there's already some positive news from the Red Bull factory, where niggling correlation issues between the car and the team's simulation and windtunnel facilities had been a constant handicap to their efforts in 2020.

"We wanted to rule out correlation problems like in previous years," Horner stated. "We had problems with the aerodynamics [in 2020], what we saw in the wind tunnel did not correspond to what we had expected.

"We were of the opinion that we would get a better understanding of the trimmed underbody when we drive it

"We've worked very hard to understand why we struggled for correlation at the beginning of last year," he added. "We learned a lot during 2020, and of course the challenge now is to apply that in 2021."

Another plus for the team is the arrival of the experienced Sergio Perez from Racing Point to replace the inconsistent Alexander Albon.

"Sergio has a lot of experience. He can carry a car to the finish and stroke the tyres. He is a tough fighter," said Horner. "It was an unusual gift to have a driver like Sergio Perez on the market ... All in all, it made the most sense for us to team Sergio with Max.

"We hope that he brings more balance to the team, similarly like we once had it with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo," he added. "Hopefully Sergio will get the chance to sit in a good car. It's up to us to make it available to him."

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