Verstappen handed boost as Horner dismisses Ferrari boss’ claim about Red Bull development

Max Verstappen has won each of the last two races after Red Bull introduced upgrades in Imola.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed that the weight of the car is affecting tyre wear, so getting the weight down is going to lead to a multitude of improvements for his team.

The Milton Keynes side made a difficult start to the year after three reliability failures between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the first three races, which cost them podiums in Bahrain and Australia.

Even had it not been for the issue in Melbourne, Charles Leclerc was comfortably beating Verstappen to the victory, so Horner was slightly concerned about pace of the car coupled with a lack of reliability.

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“I’d rather fix a fast car than try and make a reliable, slow one fast,” he told Sky Sports.

They evidently did just that with the changes they made ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which also lost them up to 5kg, and the Dutchman comfortably led home Perez for the team’s first one-two since 2016 while Ferrari suffered a woeful weekend at his home race.

“You saw in Imola how quickly things can move around and I think we’ve got some interesting races coming up,” explained Horner, quoted by the Express, before revealing that there are more evolutions planned for the summer months that should further enhance their performance.

“The car’s running well. We’ve got some developments coming hopefully later in the summer that will help as well,” he added.

“We need to save a little bit of weight. You can always improve everywhere. 

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“We need to improve the slow [corner] stuff, we need to lose a couple of kilos off the car; tyre deg is then the result of weight so it’s all those little incremental gains that you’re always chasing.”

Verstappen would then take victory in Miami, but they might have had another maximum points haul had it not been for a sensor issue for the Mexican, who was unable to capitalise on an error at the pit stop for Carlos Sainz due to the bags of time lost through the problem.

Horner is not concerned about that, assuring that they will collaborate with Honda to eradicate the small hindrances.

“I don’t think the car is particularly fragile,” he said.

“I just think there have been niggly things that you’ve normally seen in pre-season testing that have only reared their head now. So that is frustrating, but we are working closely with HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] and they are giving us great support, and we’ll get those things figured out.”

Such are the unique respective strengths of the Red Bull and Ferrari that the 48-year-old stresses the significance of making sure to extract every last bit of performance from the areas where they are quick.

Miami’s long straights and slow corners lent themselves well to the Milton Keynes-based side, and they used them to great effect.

“It’s been nip-and-tuck and Barcelona is a whole new challenge, high-speed corners, and we know that Ferrari are strong in that area,” he explained.

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“It’s horses for courses and this circuit [Miami] suited us, we were able to make it work and get the result.”

Red Bull are six points adrift of Ferrari after Verstappen’s dominant victories in the last two races.