Christian Horner, Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, believes this year’s driver market will be dictated by Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel and his intentions for the next championship. Several top drivers have contracts which are available only until the end of the current season, including Sebastian Vettel, his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
The Italian team has left the door open for Sebastian to remain at Maranello and of course hopes that the German driver will decide to continue with Ferrari, but with Toto Wolff yet to confirm Valtteri Bottas for 2018 there are still rumours he could make a switch to rivals Mercedes.
Christian Horner admits the fact that the rest of the available drivers will have to fit around Sebastian Vettel’s plans, but made it clear that Red Bull’s line-up of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo would remain unchanged: “I guess Sebastian probably holds the key to the driver market at the moment. But certainly within Red Bull Racing there will be no changes to the driver line up.” – the Red Bull Racing Team Principal said, as reported by the British media on Wednesday.
The debate regarding the introduction of the ‘shield’ has also been intens in recent weeks, but Christian Horner does not feel the time is right for Formula 1 to introduce the cockpit protection system for 2018. At the British Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel tested the device, as Scuderia Ferrari had planned to do a whole run with it attached to the car but took it off after the German said he felt dizzy during the installation lap.
Head protection has been a topic of debate in the last couple of years, with some drivers against it, stating it is not part of F1’s DNA. If the ‘shield’ is deemed not ready for use in the 2018 season, it is expected that the heavily unpopular ‘halo’ will be introduced.
When asked when he would have liked a decision on head protection to be made, Horner said: “About 2 months ago So these things have, particularly the shield or the screen, you could hear him saying that it was pushing his head forward and playing around with the aerodynamics quite significantly, so those things take a bit of time to get on top for a big team like Red Bull Racing, so I can only imagine the difficulty that would present for a lesser equipped team. Based on the comments I have read from Sebastian it didn’t sound to be too popular. It feels immature in its concept at the moment to introduce for next year. I am sure it will be discussed at the strategy group.” – Red Bull’s Team Principal concluded.