Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the saga surrounding the legality of Ferrari’s 2019 engines leaves “quite a sour taste” after the Scuderia struggled badly in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Ferrari had the dominant power unit in 2019 and won in both Spa and Monza, while Charles Leclerc secured the pole position award for most poles last season. The performance level raised suspicions among rival teams, and after a number of technical directives, Ferrari’s competitiveness dropped away noticeably before the team reached a settlement with the FIA over the winter. The terms of that settlement were undisclosed, but Ferrari’s dismal performance at Spa-Francorchamps – where it finished 13th and 14th and was fighting among the slowest cars – has only left Horner more aggrieved.
“The whole thing has left quite a sour taste,” Horner said. “I mean obviously you can draw your own conclusions from Ferrari’s current performance, but yeah, there are races that we should have won last year arguably if they had run with an engine that seems to be quite different to what performance they had last year.”
The struggles at Spa-Francorchamps marked one of Ferrari’s worst competitive performances in the past decade, but Horner was not particularly surprised to see Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel so far back in the field.
“It’s obviously very tough for them,” he said. “But I think their focus has obviously been in the wrong areas in previous years, which is why they’re obviously seem to be struggling a little with whatever was in that agreement.
“I think you’ve got Mercedes as a clear leader, then Honda and Renault are reasonably close depending on on circuits and conditions. And then you’ve got Ferrari obviously at the back of the queue.”
After failing to score in Belgium, Ferrari has slipped to fifth in the constructors’ championship – just two points ahead of Renault in sixth – after having been second and 87 points ahead of Red Bull last season.