Horner expects up to two seconds to be found in 2022

Jon Wilde
Max Verstappen's Red Bull at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022.

Max Verstappen's Red Bull passes the empty grandstand at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022.

Christian Horner thinks the development rate of Formula 1’s new 2022 cars could be up to two seconds per lap over the course of the season.

The new fleet of challengers was put through its paces for the first time at the pre-season track session in Barcelona, where reliability was more important than outright pace.

Horner’s Red Bull team had a pretty satisfactory week, turning in 358 laps between Max Verstappen (206) and Sergio Perez (152). The Mexican also set the third fastest time, on a harder compound of tyres than the Mercedes duo ahead of him.

But with the cars all being brand new due to the heavily-revised regulations for this year’s action, they will only get quicker as teams establish what works best – both for themselves and their rivals.

Whereas improvement is usually measured in tenths of a second, Horner, the Red Bull team principal, believes full seconds will be shaved off lap times as the new cars are brought up towards their maximum potential.

“There will be a steep learning curve,” Horner told RacingNews365. “With these new rules, we are finding more performance every week – 1.5-2 seconds of development will be found.

“On some circuits we won’t be far from last year’s pole position.”

Horner also reflected on the unofficial test at the Circuit de Catalunya where Perez, who had been due to run for a full day on Thursday, had his running compromised before a more productive final half-day.

“We had a gearbox problem but it was nothing dramatic,” said Horner. “The test is mainly about the process of getting to know the car better. We collected a lot of data and drove a lot of laps.

“We had a positive first test. We learned a lot about the new tyres and also about how the ground-effect works on the cars. There is much more to come.”


The RB18 appeared in Barcelona looking very different to the car that had been presented at the team’s launch – something Horner, with tongue in cheek, suggested was a result of the sport’s rapid rate of evolution.

“The car has indeed changed considerably since launch,” said Horner. “Things move fast in the Formula 1 world. Every part is different from then.

“The radical nature of these rules means you don’t want to give away your concept too early, especially in the fast-moving world of Formula 1.”


PlanetF1 verdict


Two seconds could be found in 2022 alone

Christian Horner believes that two seconds can be found this year.