Christian Horner has played down fears the RB18 is fragile despite three retirements already this season and problems at the Miami Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen may have worried his early-season reliability issues had resurfaced on Friday when he struggled in both FP1 and FP2 of the Miami Grand Prix.
In the first practice session, a problem with the rear of the car saw Red Bull make a gearbox change ahead of FP2 but there were further issues still when a fire broke out in his car, limiting him to just one lap throughout the whole session.
The Dutchman has been particularly unfortunate when it comes to reliability issues this campaign having DNFed in two of the opening three races but Christian Horner has denied that the car is “fragile.”
“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 said, as reported by GPFans.
“We are working closely with HRC and they are giving us great support so I think we will get those ironed out.”
Last month, Horner was warned by colleague Helmut Marko that Verstappen may not keep his cool for much longer were the issues to persist.
“He is a lot calmer,” Marko told the Austrian broadcaster ORF.
Verstappen showing he's the one to beat - Miami GP Conclusions
With Red Bull having sorted out the reliability issues that plagued them for the first three races of the season, Max Verstappen is now proving he is the guy at the top and the one to beat, and did so with an emphatic drive at the Miami Grand Prix.
“After his retirement [in Australia], he returned to the pit box and we discussed things calmly.
“However, in this case, we knew we could run into that problem, because we also had to deal with that in qualifying, so it didn’t come out of the blue in that regard.
“He is an emotional and passionate driver who will always give his opinion. But, in my view, he is a lot calmer, calmer than in the past.
“If we don’t win again soon, then he is indeed a time bomb!”
Thankfully for the team and Horner, Verstappen has since gone on to win both races. However, his team-mate Sergio Perez suffered reliability issues which the Red Bull boss believed cost him second place in Miami.
“He had an issue with a sensor on one of the cylinders,” Horner 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.”