Christian Horner fires back at Sergio Perez’s Red Bull jibe

Max Verstappen has long been labelled as Red Bull’s number 1 driver, having earned two world championships since joining the team.

Max Verstappen has solidified his position at the head of the Formula 1 grid, winning two of the first three races on the calendar.

On the other side of the garage, Sergio Perez has secured a second, first and fifth place finish across the opening rounds of the 2023 season.

With his teammate managing to secure a better performance out of the car, the Mexican driver has accused the team of not being used to running two cars equally.

“Before I came, basically they were just going racing with two cars because they had to,” Perez said. 

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However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has rejected Perez’s accusation, claiming that it’s “the first [time] I’ve heard him saying that.” 

“We always have run two cars since we entered the sport in 2005,” Horner continued.

Perez had an unfortunate experience in Australia, finding himself beached in the gravel in Q1 before he had a chance to record a time on the board.

The Mexican appeared to suffer a repeat of the mechanical troubles he had experienced in the final practice session.

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“I don’t want to go into details,” Perez said post-race, “but we know what the problem is and we have to work as a team to fix it.”

Dr Helmut Marko shut Perez down for a second time though, arguing that the car’s problems could not be directly attributed to a reliability issue.

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“Maybe it wasn’t an optimal setting,” Marko explained, “but Checo was unsure, impetuous, and it was slippery with cold tyres.

“We had a problem with engine braking in the third practice, but that was no longer there in qualifying. Unfortunately he just misjudged it.  

“We are not talking about reliability issues but, rather, detailed settings for engine mapping. It has nothing to do with reliability,” the Red Bull adviser continued.