Christian Horner issues Red Bull upgrade vow as McLaren and Ferrari close in

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris in the closing laps of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris in the closing laps of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Christian Horner has said Red Bull will respond in the F1 2024 development race following the emergence of McLaren and Ferrari over recent weeks.

Red Bull produced the most dominant season in history in F1 2023, winning 21 out of a possible 22 races as Max Verstappen (19 wins) eased to a third successive World Championship.

Christian Horner: Red Bull must react to McLaren, Ferrari threat

Despite pursuing a new development concept for the new season in the hope of maintaining their advantage over the opposition, Red Bull have not had it all their own way so far in F1 2024.

Although Verstappen has started his latest title defence with five victories from the first seven races, Red Bull have already seen wins go to Ferrari and McLaren after Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris triumphed in Australia and Miami respectively.

Fresh from his maiden victory in Miami earlier this month, Norris pushed Verstappen hard for the win at last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, falling just 0.725 seconds short at the chequered flag.

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McLaren’s improved form comes after a significant upgrade in Miami, with Ferrari introducing a range of updates at Imola in an attempt to hunt down Red Bull.

Speaking to Sky F1 after the race, Horner stressed the need for Red Bull to keep extracting more performance from the RB20 as their rivals close in.

He said: “It just demonstrates that things don’t stand still in Formula 1. You’ve got to keep pushing, you’ve got to keep moving forward.

“We’ve won five of the seven races now, but you can see McLaren have made a step, Ferrari made a step and we’re going to need to keep that rate of development coming through.”

Despite the unique challenges of the Monaco Grand Prix, Horner is expecting McLaren and Ferrari to keep the pressure on this weekend.

He added: “Monaco is just a completely different venue.

“That is all about qualifying. The race is won on Saturday fundamentally, so having one-lap performance and a car with a very strong front end there is going to be very important.

“I think McLaren and Ferrari are all going to be contenders at that race.”

Asked to pinpoint Red Bull’s biggest threat ahead of Monaco he replied: “I think you’ve got to say McLaren have got a very fast car at the moment.

“I think [Oscar] Piastri looked quick at certain points, Lando was very quick at the end of the race.

“But Ferrari are in the noise with them as well, so that’s another four cars that we’re up against.

“It’s very gratifying to win a race like that when you’ve been pushed very hard.”

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