Are Red Bull being exposed? Christian Horner explains dwindling pace gap to rivals

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen and the Monaco barriers

Max Verstappen and the Monaco barriers

Although McLaren have made a “big step” and Ferrari a more “subtle” one, Christian Horner is not hitting the panic button but concedes Red Bull need to understand their Monaco issues.

While Sergio Perez’s Monaco Grand Prix was over on the very first lap when he was pitched into the barrier by Kevin Magnussen, Max Verstappen started P6 and that’s exactly where he finished.

Red Bull have ‘some issues’ they need to address with the RB20

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

In what was a processional race after his team-mate’s red flag, Verstappen probably would’ve fallen asleep were it not for the hammering his back was taking on the street circuit’s kerbs.

Running a stiff set-up, one that Ted Kravitz explained does not work in Monte Carlo, what started as a headache on Friday ended with a sore back on Sunday.

That Verstappen suffered a similar performance drop last year in Singapore, another street circuit albeit a faster one, has team boss Horner admitting it’s an area Red Bull need to improve.

He is, however, by no means panicking nor does he feel Red Bull have been exposed despite Verstappen declaring they’ve been “found out” as rivals have closed the gap.

“I think we saw it in Singapore last year as well,” Horner told the media including “I think we’ve had another example of that. We know it’s an area of the car we need to work on.

“It was a very static race, I mean, the top 10 was as it started. The red flag effectively killed the race because everybody was going to run to the end of the race.

“We have some lessons to take out of this weekend and some issues that we need to address with the car.”

“Ferrari, McLaren, they’re quick,” he added. “It was always going to happen that there was going to be going to be convergence.

“I think McLaren made a big step, Ferrari’s step was very subtle. So let’s see over the next two or three races.

“We’re now getting into the meat of the championship so let’s see. Montreal, Barcelona, Austria, Silverstone, let’s see over the next few circuits how things how things pan out. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“We expected this to be a tough weekend for us. Qualifying was difficult which then dictates where you are in the race.”

Key takeaways from the Monaco Grand Prix

šŸ‘‰Ā Monaco GP data: Mercedes ā€˜survivalā€™ strategy conditioned by Alonsoā€™s traffic denies fight for the win

šŸ‘‰Ā Monaco Grand Prix conclusions: Charles Leclerc breakthrough, Kevin Magnussen ban and more

Asked about Verstappen’s complaint that his RB20 was a “go-kart”, Horner said Red Bull need to understand the exact cause of the issue before they can implement a fix.

“First of all, it’s understanding what the issue is. I think once we’ve done that, then you can look at what the relevant fix is.”

It’s a fix that could still come in this year’s upgrade package.

“It’s a continual process,” he said. “Of course, you’re into the law of diminishing returns, and of course, your focus changes depending on what your problems are.

“So I think quite a lot of focus will now happen or will now take part on ‘okay, why have we had these ride issues? Why is the car struggling on the kerbs?’

“The VCARB car is running with our suspension from last year, it didn’t seem to have the same issues. So we need to understand, is it something that we’ve introduced.”

The result of the Monaco Grand Prix meant race winner Charles Leclerc clashed Verstappen’s lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 31 points with Ferrari 24 down in the teams’ standings.

“There’s a long way to go,” said Horner. “We’ve never taken anything for granted in the championship.

“Obviously this race is won on a Saturday. And that’s where we had a poor day. And obviously Friday, we struggled as well.

“So to understand what the issues were with the ride and the kerbs, we’ve got a huge amount of data now to go away and look at to address for the upcoming races.”

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