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Horner: Our downgrade beat Mercedes' upgrade

Horner: Our downgrade beat Mercedes’ upgrade

Horner: Our downgrade beat Mercedes' upgrade

Christian Horner took a swipe at a statement made by Mercedes’ Technical Director James Allison claiming Red Bull have made their RB20 worse with upgrades.

There is not denying that Red Bull are not as dominant in the 2024 Formula 1 season like they were in 2023 and 2022, as the like of McLaren and Ferrari have caught up with them and now challenge them on a regular basis.

Since Miami Red Bull have struggled and Max Verstappen had a difficult win at Imola, lost in Monaco, but bounced back to win the Canadian Grand Prix, having to work hard for it.

In Canada, Mercedes seemed to have finally delivered on all the promises that they were improving their W15, but while George Russell took pole, he finished third with Lewis Hamilton fourth.

Mercedes’ tech boss James Allison claimed in Canada that Red Bull have ruined their car, he said: “It does look as if their upgrade was a downgrade, so, fingers crossed that would really mess them up.

“That [an upgrade not working] makes life hard, because the moment you stop trusting your tools, you have to backtrack, and you lose loads of time. Time is your biggest friend, losing it is your worst enemy,” Allison added.

After taking an important win in Canada, Allison’s comments were brought to Horner’s attention to which he quipped: “Even with our downgrade, we managed to beat their upgrade.

“It was a rewarding race to win, the last couple of races have been more choppy waters for us, but we have still managed to win two out of the last three races.

Red Bull need to be at the top of their game going forward

“We had a pole in Imola, we managed to match the pole time here with a car that both drivers are feeling its deficiencies. So there is a lot of focus on that to see if we can improve that.

“We know there are circuits later in the year like Singapore where it [ride issues] could be a factor. But we really expect Ferrari, McLaren – and Mercedes who came into that window this weekend – to be competitive at every circuit.

“So I think despite having won six of the nine races – we are going to have to be top of our game to keep eking out a gap,” he admitted.

Mercedes have recently had an oscillating form, sometimes fast in practice, then nowhere in qualifying and the race, and while the got pole and a podium in Canada, it remains to be seen whether their form is genuine, according to Horner.

He said: “Mercedes have always gone well on green circuits and there are no real high-speed corners here. So with the asphalt change, it played possibly to their strengths.

“So let’s see over the next three tracks if it is genuine form or if it’s a one-off,” Horner concluded.

Red Bull lead the 2024 F1 Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes are fourth having scored only 124 points compared to Red Bull’s 301.

(Reporting by Agnes Carlier from Montreal)