[Verstappen: Changing F1 order behind Red Bull “very confusing”
As Red Bull has won every round so far in 2023, Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin and – following the British Grand Prix last weekend – now McLaren have fought to be the second-fastest team.
Factors such as track characteristics, the rate and effectiveness of upgrades and strategy decisions have created a considerable variation in competitiveness from one weekend to the next.
This means, although it is Mercedes that currently lies second in the constructors’ standings with a 22-point lead over Aston Martin, no single team has emerged as the next-best compared to Red Bull on truly regular basis.
Rather than these shifting goalposts making it hard for Red Bull to pick out and focus on a consistent rival to beat, team principal Horner in fact says the in-fighting makes it “easier” for his squad.
He said: “It makes it easier in many respects. It means that we just focus on ourselves and it’s somebody else every weekend.
“It’s interesting to see how the form is moving around and it’s so tyre sensitive as well.
“We had another tyre, another construction introduced this weekend [at Silverstone] and that has probably come into play a little as well.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
His comments follow Lando Norris finishing second in the British GP while Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton climbed from seventh to third in a race where Ferrari dropped to ninth and 10th.
Dominant race winner Verstappen reckoned the fluctuations were “very confusing”, but the changes reflected an ultra-competitive fight behind Red Bull.
However, he was more concerned with his team staying on top, which he made out to be the most “stable factor ” in the form book.
He said: “It’s very confusing to me because every single race weekend, it’s someone else.
“I think it is because it’s so close behind that if you get your car in a little bit of a better window, it works on one particular track.
“So, for me, I don’t know what’s going to happen in Hungary [the next race] to be honest, who is going to be quick or the second-quickest.
“The stable factor so far is that every single weekend, it seems like we are on top, which of course is the most important from our side.
“But again, Hungary is a completely different track, we will put some upgrades on the car there and hopefully they will work well.”