Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says his team’s form in recent races bodes well for the 2020 season, thanks to stability in the regulations.
Next year will see the same regulations used in Formula 1 before a major change in 2021, allowing a large degree of evolution in terms of car design. Red Bull is in the first year of its partnership with Honda but has won two races and taken a pole position, and after losing out on a second pole due to a grid penalty for Max Verstappen in Mexico and then come close to both pole and victory in Austin, Horner says the signs are positive for next year.
“I think in Mexico we had a really competitive car and that was a missed opportunity for us following the first lap incident, but the car performed well (in Austin) — and it was windy, which again highlights the progress we have made,” Horner said. “That would have badly affected us at the beginning of the year and we’ve been competitive throughout the weekend, so had it not been for a little lock-up at Turn 1, arguably we could have achieved the pole — we were only 0.05s off.
“Generally the car has been competitive in every session and a competitive third place as well. Alex’s (Albon) recovery as well highlighted again our competitiveness.
“Suzuka we never got to see what the car was really capable of with Max being eliminated early on. I suspect Suzuka could have been similar to (Austin) — it’s a similar type of circuit. Singapore we recognize where we made a mistake, obviously we lost out to the Ferraris that day and beat a Mercedes but felt we left a bit on the table.
“I think the car is genuinely performing pretty well over the last few races and I think the encouraging thing for us, with stability of the rules over the winter, if there’s anything that we learn this year we carry into RB16.”
While Verstappen was a threat for victory in Austin, Albon has finished every race in the top six since joining Red Bull over the summer break, continuing that run with a strong recovery drive on Sunday. After Albon moved into sixth in the drivers’ championship, Horner says he is impressed with the way he fought through the field after first-lap contact required a pit stop.
“The first corner I think he was a victim of circumstance; I can’t see how he could have avoided that. There was a sort of pincer being caught between the two cars. Then he needed a front wing change, came out quite a way behind the field, was the quickest car on the circuit for a fair few laps and then his passing of the traffic was phenomenal.
“He must have passed Carlos Sainz three times on the different strategy that he was on! But he is very decisive in his overtaking, he’s very efficient in working his way through the traffic, he has a good feel for what’s going on with the car and now he’s moved into P6 in the drivers’ championship after seven races. He continues to impress the team with his development.”