Horner: Mercedes will bounce back ‘very, very quickly’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the pre-season photograph. Bahrain March 2022

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and reigning World Champion Max Verstappen at the pre-season photograph, turned away from each other. Bahrain March 2022

Christian Horner believes Mercedes will bounce back “very, very quickly”, especially with the “strength and depth” that they have within the team.

Mercedes have been the dominant force in Formula 1 over the past eight seasons, putting together an unprecedented run of eight Constructors’ Championships while also winning seven of the last eight Drivers’ titles.

Lewis Hamilton fell short of making it eight in a row for the Brackley squad last season when he was pipped on the very last lap of the championship by Max Verstappen.

This season, though, the story is looking a lot different.

Mercedes had a difficult pre-season, the team’s W13 with its zero-pod design suffering with extreme porpoising.

That had Mercedes going into the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix downplaying their chances of success with rivals saying they were bluffing.

They weren’t, Hamilton only just squeezing onto the podium when the two Red Bull drivers retired late in the grand prix.

Mercedes have since said there is a “lot of everything” wrong with their W13, from bouncing to balance to grip to traction.

Horner, though, has backed them to get on top of their issues “very, very quickly”.

“I think when you watch their car on circuit it obviously doesn’t look easy for their drivers at the moment,” the Red Bull team boss told the official F1 website, “but what we do know is their ability to bounce back.

“I mean, they’ve had difficult pre-seasons before and then gone and won the first race.

“So I think until we’ve seen… a sample of three or four races, you’re not going to get a true picture of form and, of course, with the regulations being so immature, the development rate is going to be fast, it’s going to be steep, and of course a team like Mercedes – with the strength and depth that they have – will bounce back very, very quickly if they are on the back foot.”

As for Red Bull’s own issues, both Verstappen and Sergio Perez retiring in the final three laps of the race with fuel problems.

Verstappen had been running P2 at the time while Perez was in the fight for the podium.

“The positive side for us is that we clearly have a competitive car,” Horner said, “I don’t think we quite had the pace [on Sunday], but there was some great racing between Max and Charles.

“It’s an incredibly long season with 22 races remaining, so we need to get on top of whatever this issue was and come back stronger next weekend.”

 

PlanetF1 Verdict

 

Horner backs Mercedes to bounce back ‘quickly’

Christian Horner has backed Mercedes to bounce back quickly from their worries.