Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the reliability issues that have cost a number of points in the opening races of the 2022 season need solving quickly given the deficit to Ferrari.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both retired from the season opener in Bahrain with a fuel system problem, while a different issue struck Verstappen in Melbourne, eliminating him from second place for the second time in three races. With AlphaTauri also suffering a number of reliability concerns in the opening rounds, Horner says a lot of points have been given up that are costing his team at this early stage.
“We’ve seen it across the two teams, a few issues,” Horner said. “They’ve all been independent — none of them have been related. We obviously need to understand those and address them quickly because even on a day that we weren’t as quick as Ferrari, we were guaranteed second place.
“In the first few races, for Max we’ve given up 36 points and for the team we’ve given up 50 points. When you look at that, both the drivers’ and constructors’ championship would be a lot different. There’s a huge percentage of the championship still to run but we need to get on top of these issues quickly.”
Despite Verstappen’s woes, Perez managed to salvage second place in Melbourne after overtaking the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on track, and the overall pace of the Red Bull is something that Horner is encouraged about, even if Charles Leclerc has an early title advantage.
“The encouraging thing is we’ve got the basis of a quick car. Ferrari was out of reach (in Australia) — the window that they were in with their tire, you could just see they weren’t experiencing the problems either through blistering that some of the cars were experiencing, or graining that we experienced. They were just in a happier place, which tends to happen when your balance is more settled.
“But nonetheless, Checo drove an exceptional race. He got unlucky once again with the safety car but a stunning pass on Lewis into the high-speed chicane. Then he had to repass Fernando (Alonso) and George to get back into that podium position. So a great recovery from him.”