Christian Horner states that Red Bull Racing’s competitors have already turned to the FIA because of Max Verstappen’s flapping rear wing. During the first free practice in Azerbaijan, the part of the RB18 moved, and that cannot be the intention. The Red Bull team principal hopes they can get rid of the problem before the second free practice session starts, and is disappointed that the DRS is again going wrong.
Bee Sky Sports Horner tells his story between the two free practice sessions. Horner is asked if he is aware of what happened at Verstappen’s DRS system in Baku. “We’ve seen it, we have the data and are now comparing it to Pérez’s wing. We have to make some adjustments so that that doesn’t happen again this afternoon,” the Englishman said.
“Weight is always a critical factor, you’re always looking for a reduction,” he continues when asked if the system’s problems are a result of the weight reduction that Red Bull is looking for. According to advisor Helmut Marko, Red Bull has to lose another five kilos before they are at the minimum weight. “There was a difference between the cars, we are now going to look at the set-up (of the part, ed.),” said Horner.
Red Bull competitors move to the FIA
Such a flapping rear wing is not allowed according to the regulations. Such a mistake offers the competitors a perfect opportunity to go to the FIA and seek redress. “I think they have already done that,” suggests the Red Bull CEO, who then indicates that they obviously do not want such a defective rear wing themselves. “This does not give you a performance advantage. Our men are on top of it and hopefully it will be cleared up before the next session.’
“Somehow it always seems to hit Verstappen,” Horner continues, referring to the Spanish Grand Prix, where Verstappen’s DRS system was not opening, while Perez was not bothered by anything else. Does it have to do with the problems the Austrian racing stable experienced in Spain? “We have to be on top of it and hopefully we’ll get it out before VT2.”
Perez in form
Pérez finished the first free practice as the leader, leaving title competitors Charles Leclerc and Verstappen behind. Horner responds with satisfaction: ‘Checo is Mr. Baku. He always does well on this track. Great first session, he takes that confidence from Monaco. A good start and the balance is good, hopefully we can keep that up all weekend.’
Not only in Baku did it go better in that first session with Pérez than with Verstappen. Also on the street circuit of Monaco it was the Mexican who predominated. ‘Pérez had the car on track better there. Verstappen is not quite happy with it yet, he doesn’t have as much grip at the front as he would like, but he is adapting very well. We are looking at how we can improve the car and want to help Verstappen in that, but also listen to Pérez. It’s like having two customers that you have to keep happy.’
Jos Verstappen’s criticism
The Red Bull team boss was also briefly asked about Jos Verstappen’s criticism of the team after the Monaco Grand Prix. The former Formula 1 driver would have liked to have seen Verstappen lead during the race. ‘Fathers are never completely objective’, says Horner. ‘Jos didn’t have all the information we do have. If we had pitted Verstappen, he would have gotten behind George Russell. Jos has his own opinion, but the reality is different.’
Horner also immediately says that they do not plan to favor anyone in the rest of 2022. At least, not if the underdog doesn’t lead this year’s title fight. “The driver ahead is the first driver. Our fight is not between our two drivers. You saw in Barcelona how fast Ferrari was, and we have to keep fighting that,” he concludes.
Leclerc favorite for pole position, Verstappen favorite for the race in Azerbaijan