Christian Horner, Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, thinks that Ferrari’s engine has now overtaken Mercedes as the benchmark in Formula One. Mercedes has largely dominated the V6 hybrid era of power units by winning four straight drivers’ and constructors’ titles since 2014, but the German manufacturer has faced strong opposition from the Maranello team across the past two years.
The Italian outfit made significant strides with its engine performance heading into 2018 and currently leads both world championships, having taken four wins from the opening 10 rounds of this year’s campaign, with Ferrari power often usurping Mercedes in terms of straight-line speed. Ferrari’s progress has been reflected in the impressive gains made this season by customer teams Haas and Sauber, with six of the top 10 finishers at the recent Austrian Grand Prix made up of Ferrari-powered cars.
When asked if he feels Ferrari now boasts the best engine following its latest victory at the British Grand Prix, Christian Horner replied: “I think it’s setting the benchmark now. Haas and Sauber as well having made good gains. You can see the situation between the engines is very similar at the moment, and it is all about the potential development. This weekend has been a very tough weekend for Renault. It just very clearly defines where the level is at. You can’t hide behind the statistics we saw this weekend. There is a gap to fill and hopefully in Honda we have a lot of belief what they have coming in the pipeline.” – he explained.
Christian Horner said Red Bull’s data revealed the team was losing around seven percent performance in lap time delta compared to its rivals due to Renault’s well-documented power deficit, leaving its drivers “hugely exposed”: “We were just hugely exposed in both defence and attack,” he added. “You could see at the restart with Kimi, it was a bit like Mexico 2015 with the amount of additional power. At the second restart he had a moment at Stowe but was still all over Max in Turns 2, 3. Unfortunately for Daniel he just couldn’t attack Valtteri whilst having a superior tyre and grip and performance, even with the DRS open we were still dropping back. You look at the percentage that we’re off, it relates to about a 7 percent delta in power around this circuit, and on our vision that is about what we saw.” – the Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team concluded.