Christian Horner: Different Red Bull floors ‘very negligible’ for performance

Jamie Woodhouse
Sergio Perez sitting in his car on the grid. Austria July 2022

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez sitting in his car on the grid. Austria July 2022

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has shut down suggestions that Max Verstappen’s RB18 floor helps him performance-wise against Sergio Perez.

There was a sombre mood throughout the Formula 1 paddock on Friday at Monza following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II the previous day.

Formula 1 elected, as was within their right, to continue with the Italian Grand Prix weekend, impeccably observing a minute’s silence in Her Majesty’s honour before the opening practice session.

It was Ferrari on home soil who topped both Friday practice sessions, Verstappen within 0.15s of the ultimate pace come the end of FP2, although Perez in the other Red Bull had a more difficult day behind the wheel.

 

 

Horner suggested Verstappen is now “pretty happy” with the balance of the RB18, though for Perez there remains a bit of work to do.

Both drivers take power-unit related grid penalties into the race, Verstappen dropping five places after taking a new ICE, while Perez drops 10 places.

“We’ve had a reasonable day. Everybody’s very quietly gone about their job and we’ve tested the different tyres, different downforce levels,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“Max certainly found a balance he’s pretty happy with, I think Checo is getting closer and closer to that now, so lots to look at this evening.

“We’ve obviously got penalties to take with both cars, which will put us a bit out of sync, but it will create a really exciting race on Sunday.”

Could Perez’s issues have anything to do with running a different floor to Verstappen?

Perez is still using a floor which Red Bull have been trialling with limited success, while Verstappen has continued with the one he has enjoyed much success with this season.

Horner said the budget cap had played its part in the delay to switching Perez’s floor, although he made it clear this is not putting the Mexican racer at a performance disadvantage.

“It’s very, very negligible,” Horner affirmed regarding the performance impact of the floor Perez is running. “I think we predicted it to be circa less than a tenth of a second.

“And of course, we are at that time of the year when the budget cap kicks in, we have to look at the amount of spares we are carrying to enable both drivers to have a new floor in future races.

“That’s the kind of compromises we are having to make, but in terms of performance it’s absolutely negligible and what he misses out on the floor, he gains in other elements so it tends to get itself evened out, whether that’s a slight bit of weight and so on, to compensate.”

Verstappen was bumped down to P14 on the grid in Belgium, yet still won the race by a comfortable margin – which means the signs are promising for the Dutchman at Monza.

And looking at the punishment for taking a new ICE at this venue, Horner said it was decided this was the right time to take that modest hit.

Asked if that is it for Verstappen’s grid penalties, or if more new elements may be taken, Horner replied: “We’ve elected to take this penalty here on the advice of our engine partner, and five places here isn’t too draconian.

“So to have that extra engine added into our pool for the remaining seven races, we just thought strategically is the right thing to be doing.”