Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner hit back at Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff, claiming he lacks the understanding of how a Formula 1 car and team develop.
Horner’s comments come after the Dutch Grand Prix where Verstappen won his ninth consecutive race in 2023, with Wolff commenting on the Dutchman’s sheer pace and ability to dominate every teammate that he has, calling the pace of his RB19 “bizzare”, suggesting the Mercedes boss does in fact believe Red Bull have strictly developed the RB19 to suit their lead driver only.
Ahead of the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, Verstappen defended himself and the team by saying that any comments recently made about the car or himself, are all “bullsh!t”.
He said: “I just drive the car I get to the fastest way possible. I’m not there to tell the guys to give me more front end, because that’s how I like it.
“I’ll just say, ‘design me the fastest car, and I’ll drive around that’. Every single year it’s just different , every car drives a little bit different,” he added. “I adapt to what I need for the car to go quick.”
That’s not how things are done in a team
Horner, speaking to Motorsport.com at Monza, backed and echoed Verstappen’s sentiments, when quizzed on the same topic.
“I completely agree with Max,” Horner said. “It shows a total lack of understanding of how a race car and team develop if Toto thinks that we’re developing a car around a single driver.
“You develop a car to be as quick as you can and sometimes quick cars are difficult cars. That’s what’s historically been the case,” he explained.
“I think that the good drivers adapt. You see it in wet conditions, mixed conditions. The elite, they adapt quickly. I think that’s one of Max’s key skill sets is his ability to adapt to the feeling and the grip levels that a car gives him.
“But there’s certainly no direction to say we tailor something to suit one specific driver. We’re just trying to design and build the fastest car that we can. Our tools, our simulation, our wind tunnel provide us with that direction,” Horner insisted.
Verstappen is chasing his tenth consecutive F1 win in a row this season at Monza this weekend, which should he succeed, will etch a new record in the history of the sport, as Red Bull still remain unbeaten all season.
The current record is jointly held by Verstappen and retired four time F1 Champion Sebastian Vettel, who won nine consecutive races in a row with Red Bull in 2013.