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Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has admitted issues arose with his drivers after the Sao Paulo GP. (Feature Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool, Getty Images)
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has admitted issues arose with his drivers after the Sao Paulo GP. (Feature Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool, Getty Images)

Horner explains reasons for post-race driver hostilities in Brazil

Red Bull Team Principal reveals the issues led to that fractious comments from Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez at the Brazilian Grand Prix

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Team Principal Christian Horner admits Red Bull’s handling of the bizarre team orders row at last season’s Brazilian Grand Prix could have been better. The Team Principal has revealed what led to the hostile situation between its drivers post-race. 

Red Bull's Max Verstappen leads teammate Sergio Perez at the Sao Paulo GP in Brazil. Christian Horner admits mistakes were made when applying team orders to its drivers during the race (Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool,Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads teammate Sergio Perez at the Sao Paulo GP in Brazil. Christian Horner admits mistakes were made when applying team orders to its drivers during the race (Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool, Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Verstappen and Perez raced in formation during the latter stages in Brazil, holding P6 and P7. Red Bull issued team orders on the final lap for Verstappen to let Perez pass. The extra two points for Perez were vital in the battle for P6. The the final round took place a week after Brazil.

As reported by formula1.com, The World Champion disobeyed the team order, however, and angrily defended his actions. The Dutchman came over the radio on the cool-down lap, stating: I told you already last summer, don’t ask that again to me… I gave my reasons, and I stand by it”. Perez, equally angry, said: “It shows who he really is.” It was the first example of disquiet between the drivers all season.

Both championships had long been secured, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen taking Red Bull’s first double championship since Sebastian Vettel in 2013. The team’s success of 13 out of 19 races has only been bettered by Mercedes, the team it dethroned last season.

Horner: “we made some mistakes”

Horner has now revealed the “root cause” of the problem. He admitted the scenario of running P6 and P7 in the race had not been anticipated or discussed. Speaking to formula1.com, Horner admitted this had been a mistake by the team:

“I think the root cause of the problem was we had never envisaged being in a situation, being in the final few laps, being in sixth and seventh place in that Grand Prix,” said Horner. “And I think it was something that, as we hadn’t envisaged it, we hadn’t discussed it, before the race, and I think, that was a mistake on our part, that we should have thought through, or tried to think through every single scenario.

He admitted that “no clear plan” also proved costly when managing the situation: “I think that was a mistake as a team that we didn’t discuss it and come up with a very clear plan. Obviously, it was unfortunate what happened, but it was quickly discussed, openly and transparently. And both drivers were very clear, open, and honest with each other, and from that, as a team, we move on and the dynamic between the drivers is absolutely fine.”

The Red Bull Team Principal said the team has “learned from” its errors in Brazil. He added that the team’s achievements in 2022 will not “dictate the year”:  “I think we made some mistakes in Brazil, we’ve learned from that and, as I say, we move on. We’ve done some amazing things. These two drivers have performed incredibly well together. They’re the reason that we are in the position that we are. Max’s season [was] on another planet [last] year. So, we’re not going to let the events of a couple of laps in Brazil dictate the year for us.”

Horner also stated 2022 had been a “a very tough year” despite its domination. He said the team needed to fight hard in the first half of the season as Ferrari had a “quicker package” at the start of the year: “It was a very tough year. When you look at the statistics, it looks like we totally dominated it. But certainly, in the first half of the season, Ferrari had their chances and probably a quicker package. But Max was outstanding throughout the year, particularly in that first half”.

Feature Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool, Getty Images

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