Technical directive not behind Red Bull’s Singapore slump – Horner

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner insists a technical directive was not the cause of the difficulties faced in the Singapore Grand Prix, as the team’s run of winning every race this season came to an end.

Max Verstappen qualified 11th and Sergio Perez 13th as Red Bull struggled heavily on Saturday, leaving it out of contention on a track that is tough to overtake on. The challenging weekend coincided with a technical directive from the FIA that targeted flexible bodywork – specifically front and rear wings – coming into force, but Horner says that’s no the explanation for Red Bull’s run of wins ending.

“It’s all engineering stuff,” Horner said. “There’s no silver bullets in this business. I know all of you would love to blame the TD, but unfortunately we can’t even blame that because it has not changed a single component on our car. So I think circuit characteristics are different here and we haven’t optimized the car in the right window to extract the most.”


Elaborating on how Red Bull viewed its weekend, Horner said the race pace was actually far more competitive than the qualifying speed, but strategic gambles didn’t pay off.

“I think, firstly, we understood a lot more in the race and the pace of the car came much more back to what we expected. We knew coming here we expected to have closer competition but it took us a bit by surprise how just how far out we were on Friday.

“We were just not in the right operating window for the car, particularly over a single lap. When you are not there, the tires feel horrible, everything just doesn’t work. So I think we got a very good steer in the race, we saw, particularly in the latter stint, that Max’s pace was very strong.

“Unfortunately, in the race, by starting on the hard, we took a strategic gamble and the best way of that race paying us off was if we had an early safety car or if you get a safety car later on into the race. But the lap that the safety car came out on was strategically the worst possible lap for the strategy that we were on, because it gave the lead cars — the cars ahead of us — a free stop, at the same time giving us track position but making us take the restart with tires that were very hard to heat up again having done well over 20 laps. So then Max was picked off by the guys that had the free stop and then we had to take a pit stop that was in normal racing conditions, which then dropped you another 23 seconds behind.

“With that all considered, the recovery that we had, and the pace that we had – particularly in the latter stages of the race — to be 0.2s behind Charles (Leclerc) at the finish line, was a strong race.

“At some point we were going to get beaten. Fifteen in a row is an unbelievable record and we have only been beaten once prior to (Singapore) since last July.

“I have to congratulate Ferrari, particularly Carlos, who drove a very strong race and deserved to win. At the same time, we have narrowed in on both championships, which we have a chance of winning the constructors’ championship in Japan next weekend.”

Story originally appeared on Racer