Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2022

Horner expects Ferrari fightback in Miami after “unlucky” weekend at Imola

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner expects the balance of power between his team and Ferrari will be “swings and roundabouts” throughout the 2022 season.

Max Verstappen scored his second victory of the year last weekend at Imola. Horner said it was a fitting recovery for the team and engine supplier Honda Racing Corporation after Verstappen’s retirement from the Australian Grand Prix.

“It was a great response both in the factory, in Milton Keynes, and in Japan,” said Horner. “The best possible response was to come and achieve a maximum score, bar one point, across the two days of racing.”

Verstappen’s retirement in Australia was the team’s third from the first two races. His Imola victory allowed him to regain some of the ground he had lost to championship leader Charles Leclerc.

“The DNFs have been costly, particularly for Max,” said Horner. “But it’s a long, long season and I think we’ll take a lot of confidence out of this weekend.

“In the championship, obviously, it was important for us to take some points off Ferrari, which we’ve done in both championship tables. So we’ll take that out of this weekend and then try and build on it in Miami at an all-new circuit a couple of weeks time.”

Horner expects a strong challenge from Ferrari at the next race. “It’ll be, again, horses for courses,” he said. “Ferrari have got a great car, they got great drivers.

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“They’ve been unlucky at this race. But for sure they’re going to be super-competitive in two weeks time. And I think it’ll be like that for the whole season.”

Red Bull triumphed in Imola partly because they managed to get the best out of their tyres in the damp and cool conditions, said Horner.

“As we saw in Melbourne, the tyres, there’s an operating window within them. I think the set-up this weekend, we got it right, and we could see that Charles was struggling a little bit more with the front tyres here than we were, both in [Saturday’s] race and starting to happen in the latter part of [the grand prix].

“So that just gave us the upper hand. I think Max was able to manage the race perfectly, Checo was able to build a gap to Charles and manage that gap. And at no point, other than one trip across the grass with Checo, did we really come under too much pressure.”

Horner added he is satisfied the team has solved the problem which caused Verstappen’s Melbourne stoppage, following their double retirement in Bahrain.

“I think we’ve understood those issues,” he said. “The issue that we had in in Australia was different to the issue that we had in Bahrain.

“But you can never say never. I think obviously it’s demonstrated that we’ve managed to get on top of the issue from Australia.”

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Keith Collantine
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12 comments on “Horner expects Ferrari fightback in Miami after “unlucky” weekend at Imola”

  1. I’ve said it before on here: I’m really looking forward to Miami! Yes, Ferrari were a bit unlucky last weekend in particular with Sainz at the start. Can’t wait to see a proper battle between Ferrari and Red Bull in Miami, hopefully McLaren is in the mix as well after their decent pace in the last two races.

  2. The circuit looks dreadful, hopefully it will be better in real life.
    And for all our sakes I hope Ferrari do fight back – otherwise we’re in for a walkover this year.

  3. On another Miami related matter. Anyone know where we can find a Race Director?

  4. Both have covid

    1. I suggest we bring back Mr Masi for the memes.

      1. You’re a great man, Toto.

      2. They have him in reserve :)

  5. The “unlucky” part for Ferrari was mainly because they didn’t have a proper P1, P2, P3 to get their car set up and it showed.

    I’m sure RBR’s car wasn’t optimised either, they just were lucky enough to have brought a better initial set up.

    If they are going to persist with the stupid sprint events they need to address that.

    1. For example by anticipating fp2 to before qualifying.

    2. There was no luck involved in setup. The weather and conditions were the same for everyone.
      ‘Unlucky’ was Sainz going out at the first corner.

      There’s nothing to address. Everyone gets an hour to practice, and they have to make the best of it. They’ve already had months of sim work and years of previous data to analyse.
      Those who do the best on the day get the rewards for that performance.

      1. Complete rubbish.

        There aren’t years of previous data for the new cars – you just don’t seem to get that do you.

        This year is unique because of it. Sure everyone has a baseline that they’ve brought from working with sims but nothing beats track time. In a normal weekend some teams start OK and get better or worse as they adjust set ups.

        On a weekend like this there really was no time to fine tune – essentially you drove what you got Friday morning. So yeah – if you were lucky, you got something that was OK, if you weren’t, you got something that was a bit more unstable.

        That is not what motor racing is about. It’s about teams working over a weekend to get the best out of their cars and drivers, not having a lottery on who got it “mostly right” when they arrive.

        1. They’ve had plenty of time to analyse the track surface, @dbradock. That’s previous data right there that is 100% relevant. And it was both wet and dry last year too, remember.
          This year may have different cars, but they aren’t from another planet. The teams created them themselves and used loads of previously acquired data and knowledge to determine their technical directions and refine their designs.

          A team that did poorly had exactly the same amount of time in the exact same conditions as a team that did very well. Nothing lucky or unlucky there. Preparation, planning, attentive/experienced engineering choices and a more adaptable and sympathetic driving style gave them their superior performance – not luck. What they drove on Friday morning – and indeed throughout the rest of the event – is the product of those choices.
          There was no lottery here, and there never is. You control what you can control and make the best of whatever is thrown at you.

          You just don’t seem to get that…. Do you?

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