Christian Horner believes Max Verstappen still has a chance of bridging his 37-point deficit to Lewis Hamilton and becoming 2020 World Champion.
After six rounds of the season, Verstappen has won only one race to Hamilton’s four (Valtteri Bottas claimed the other). When Hamilton failed to finish on the podium for the solitary time, fourth at the Austrian Grand Prix, Verstappen recorded a DNF.
The odds are therefore clearly stacked high against the Dutchman. But his Red Bull team boss Horner believes the title is not out of the question, given that Verstappen won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on merit and there are still potentially 11 races left.
Asked during the F1 Nation podcast whether there remains an outside chance of Verstappen catching Hamilton, Horner said: “Yes, I think so. We are still an outsider. We have a long way to go but we still have a chance.
“In the past we’ve won races thanks to our strategy or by taking advantage of an ‘off day’ at Mercedes, but if you look at Silverstone…there we just won on our own strength.”
Although, given the shape of the Championship, the most obvious plan may be to start working towards 2021, Horner is not giving up on this season just yet.
He added: “First we have to wait and see how the ban on different engine settings works out and we have to keep improving ourselves with our own car.
“We are now fully focused on that, all the more so because this car (due to the limited further development) will also be the starting point for next year.”
Red Bull have not captured a World Championship since their four consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles between 2010 and 2013 when they and Sebastian Vettel were dominant, with Mark Webber also winning races in the other car.
Horner points to the fact that people with Championship-winning experience remain in the team as a reason why Red Bull can return to those heady days.
“We have of course strengthened ourselves here and there but I can still mainly see the same faces as back then,” he said.
“All those people are very motivated to get into a title fight again and are doing everything they can.”