Christian Horner issues ‘pink Mercedes’ reminder as closer Red Bull connection near

Michelle Foster
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023.

Red Bull's Christian Horner in thought on the grid.

With rivals up in arms about Red Bull and its junior team strengthening their collaboration next season, Christian Horner has reminded them the Red Bull teams have never put a “pink Mercedes” on the track.

Next season, as part of AlphaTauri’s rebranding, they’ll also draw more inspiration from Red Bull’s Formula 1 cars.

Helmut Marko explained to Austria’s Kleine Zeitung: “The orientation is clear: based on Red Bull Racing, as far as the regulations allow. Do-it-yourself constructions are the wrong way.”

‘Other cars on the grid are far closer in concept than an AlphaTauri is’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

It has rival teams worried about the synergies between the two, which Andrea Stella hinted could already have played a role in AlphaTauri’s late-season gains.

“They are the star in the slow corners now,” said the McLaren team boss.

According to Germany’s Motorsport Magazin it was expected to be one of the topics at the Abu Dhabi F1 Commission meeting but Horner says it was never raised.

The Briton went on to defend the collaboration between Red Bull and its junior team, making it clear everything was in the rules, unlike the “pink Mercedes” that featured on the 2020 grid.

“It wasn’t discussed in the Commission,” he told the media including “But no. I mean, we’re an awfully long way away from a pink Mercedes.

“There’s some transferable components that are clearly listed within the regulations that you’re allowed to supply. And that’s what they get.

“When you look at the car, there’s quite fundamental differences between their car and a Red Bull Racing car. And arguably, there’s other cars on the grid, which are far closer in concept than an AlphaTauri is.

“You’ve only got to look at an Aston Martin or even a McLaren. If you look around the rear suspension of McLaren, it’s very close in concept to that of our own.” recommends

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Horner can’t resist a little dig at Mercedes

Horner added that AlphaTauri’s relationship with Red Bull will be similar to that of Ferrari and Mercedes with their customer teams.

Supplying the junior team with the parts allowed, it will then be up to AlphaTauri to make it work “within the regulations” just as McLaren did this year as they out-paced Mercedes in the second half of the championship.

“Of course, there’s certain components that we can supply as is the case with Ferrari and Mercedes that supply two Grand Prix teams with gearboxes and suspension and simulation tools, a wind tunnel,” he said.

“And that’s the identical relationship between the companies, of course. It’s then down to them how they use those tools.

“And you can see that McLaren have used the tools in certain respects better than their supplier has done in the second half of the year.

“So it’s really down to them, how they made use of what they’re permitted within the regulations.”

Horner won’t reveal AlphaTauri’s 2024 name

Next season AlphaTauri will no longer be AlphaTauri, the team having just one more day of running under that name this year before it’s binned in favour of a new title sponsor.

It has been suggested that it could be two title sponsors, one before the team name and one after.

As for the team name, ‘Racing Bulls’ is being touted as a possibility which Horner refused to confirm or deny.

“It will be for AlphaTauri to announce whatever name change they choose to have,” he said.

“There’s a lot of speculation about naming and so on. And of course, you’ve got company names, you’ve got entrant names, which take preference to partners as well.

“So I’m sure when the timing is right they’ll announce what their rebrand is going to be for next year.

“Which will obviously be as Franz’s chapter comes to a close, Peter or Laurent Mekies have ambitious plans for the team as they move forward. So at the right time, I’m sure they’ll announce whatever they’re going to be called.”

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