Red Bull team principal Christian Horner does not believe Mercedes will be able to complete a clean sweep of race victories in the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Mercedes has set a record for the most consecutive one-two finishes to start a season by taking the top two positions in each of the opening five races. The Spanish Grand Prix was the team’s most dominant performance but Horner doesn’t see Mercedes becoming the first team in F1 history to win every race in a season.
“I doubt it,” Horner said. “I’d be (surprised) … 21 races to achieve 21 victories — you can never say never but it would be a hell of an achievement.
“I think it’s very much a Mercedes championship — you can see after five races they are three points off a maximum score. It’s still a long year and we take things race-by-race.”
While Mercedes is also chasing a record sixth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championship double, Horner says the nature of F1 means the success has to come to an end at some stage.
“Anybody can be beaten. Formula 1 is all about teamwork, it’s the biggest teams in the world. Mercedes at the moment are on the crest of a wave but that never lasts forever and our job is to ensure that we have all the tools and capability to take that challenge to them in the coming years.”
Red Bull has been able to challenge Mercedes in Monaco in recent years, with Daniel Ricciardo winning from pole last season, but Horner admits the final sector in Barcelona — featuring similar characteristics to Monaco — highlighted where Mercedes has improved this year and Red Bull has slipped back
“I think Mercedes have done a very good job in extracting performance from the car in that part of the circuit. I think we are not at our optimum yet in terms of where we would like to be with these new regulations and construction of tire. But I think (Barcelona) was a step forward and hopefully more will follow.”
With Red Bull winning four straight championship doubles from 2010-13, Horner says he never concerned himself about dominance being damaging for Formula 1 as a team boss.
“It’s not your job — running a team you’re responsible for the speed of your cars. Of course that’s slightly conflicted because the fan in you wants it to be exciting.
“So the most exciting championships we won were in 2010 when it went down to the wire with (Fernando) Alonso and (Lewis) Hamilton and our two drivers, and 2012 when it went right to the wire with Fernando. Your sense of achievement then is something very special, but when you’re running a team your responsibility is the team.”