Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed that a sensor on one of Sergio Perez’s cylinders failed, which was the reason for the slight period of panic during the Miami Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen and Perez both suffered reliability failures in Bahrain, before the same fate befell the Dutchman in Australia, but the fact that the reigning champion has won all of the three races he has finished displays the capacity in the car to compete for the championship, they just need some more longevity.
Sadly, they were hit with additional gremlins when Perez began complaining of a lack of power while running fourth in Miami behind Carlos Sainz, but the issue was solved by the team turning off one of the sensors.
Horner divulged that it was a cylinder sensor that went down, and the 48-year-old believes that Perez could have beaten Charles Leclerc to second place had he not experienced the setback.
“He had an issue with a sensor on one of the cylinders,” he said.
“He lost a lot of track time, the guys managed to move the sensors around but he was down, probably, around 20 kilowatts of power as a result.
“Even with the advantage of the new tyres he had, he was around half a second off what the car was capable of in straight-line speed and without that, he would have probably even been P2.”
A slow stop for Sainz could have been an opportunity for Perez to jump the Spaniard, but the earlier problem in the back of the Red Bull car let Ferrari off the hook, and the Mexican’s late attempt at grabbing third was unsuccessful into Turn One.
Despite so many issues in the early part of the year for both Red Bull in Milton Keynes and Honda in Japan, Horner does not agree that there is a fundamental issue.
“I don’t think the car is particularly fragile,” he confirmed.
“I think there have been niggly things that you would normally have seen in pre-season testing that have only reared their head as we have got into the season so that has been frustrating.”
Horner, who has led the team to nine championships in his time at the helm, does not doubt that they will continue to work collaboratively with Honda to fix some of the issues they have encountered.
“We are working closely with HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] and they are giving us great support so I think we will get those ironed out.”
Despite the problems, Verstappen’s win closed the gap to Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship to 19 points, while Red Bull trail Ferrari by six points in the constructors’ battle.