verstappen horner

Horner: It’s very, very confusing

verstappen horner

Red Bull’s Singapore Grand Prix qualifying woes had nothing to do with a recent move by the governing FIA to tighten Formula 1 rules on flexible bodywork, “confused” team boss Christian Horner told reporters on Saturday.

F1 World Championship leader Max Verstappen, riding a wave of 10 wins in a row, qualified down in 11th while teammate and closest title rival – albeit 145 points behind – Sergio Perez was 13th fastest.

Red Bull had been in a league of their own previously, winning every grand prix this season and 15 in succession dating back to last year, but Ferrari and Mercedes secured the front-row slots for Sunday’s night race.

“It’s very, very confusing. To have dropped the amount of pace that we have,” Horner told Sky F1 television. “The car’s just not responding to changes, you can hear this understeer, oversteer, braking issues — it’s like we haven’t managed to get the tyre into the right working window.

“The car we have here for qualifying is essentially the identical car that we had two weeks ago in Monza and a week before that in Zandvoort,” he said when the technical directive was mentioned.

Horner: Nothing’s changed on the car

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 16: The car of Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing is seen in the garage prior to qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 16, 2023 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“We tried a new aero part on Friday,” Revealed Horner. “We thought OK we’ll revert on that component, so it’s a tried and tested set-up that we have. But it just hasn’t responded on this circuit, on this asphalt,” insisted Horner.

Later in the team’s Qualifying report, the Red Bull boss added: “There’s a lot for us to consider this evening. First thing we need to do is put the disappointment behind us and look to work out what has caused our drop in pace and performance.

“There is a lot to do but we won’t give up on anything. Starting outside of the top 10 at a track that is notoriously hard to overtake on is going to be tough but we certainly haven’t written this weekend off. The points are awarded on Sunday and there is plenty to play for,” added Horner.

The directive, TD018, was introduced from this weekend after the governing body’s technical director Tim Goss saw “a little bit too much freedom being applied to the design details of aerodynamic components.”

Directives are advisory and while they do not constitute part of the technical regulations they are key to how the FIA applies the rules. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)