Horner explains Red Bull’s struggles in Singapore qualifying

Horner explains Red Bull's struggles in Singapore qualifying

Christian Horner has made an attempt to provide an explanation in an effort to shed some light on why Red Bull was unable to qualify either of their cars into Q3 at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Both Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were eliminated during Q2 in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has conceded that neither RB19 was at any time within the ideal operating window and shot down the claim that a recent technical directive had hampered their performance.

Both drivers start in the bottom half of the grid this weekend, making it extremely difficult for the defending world champions, who have won every race this year, to extend their winning streak. Max Verstappen’s current grid position of 11th is currently under threat due to an impending stewards’ investigation for three alleged impeding incidents.

After the session, Horner attempted to put an air of courage on his team’s disappointing performance this weekend in an interview with Sky F1, acknowledging the RB19 wasn’t conforming to the Marina Bay Circuit layout.

“Yeah, it’s very, very confusing to have dropped the amount of pace that we have,” Horner said. “The car is 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.

“Usually when you see a gap that big is because the tyre just isn’t fundamentally working now.

“We’ve tried different things with setup, we’ve tried different preparations, and it’s just not happening.

“So a lot for us to understand tonight to try and turn around and it’s obviously very, very tough for us to make good progress from those grid positions tomorrow, but we’ll certainly be trying very hard.”

The change in strategy for Red Bull could be seen as a direct response to the FIA’s introduction of a new technical directive, TD018, which addresses the flexibility of aerodynamic components.

However, Horner denied that the RB19 had to be modified in any notable way to comply with the TD.

“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 at Zandvoort,” the Red Bull boss explained. “It’s nothing to do with the technical directive, nothing has changed on the car.

“We tried a new aero part on Friday, and we reverted on that component, so it’s a tried and tested setup that we have.

“But it just hasn’t responded on this circuit, on this asphalt, trying to get the tyres to get into the window, it’s been very, very hard for both drivers.

“We’ll see tomorrow, we won’t give up on anything but, starting outside the top 10 at a track that’s really hard to overtake, we’ve got quite a lot on.”

Verstappen spent much of FP3 grumbling about his Red Bull’s hard up and downshifts. Horner clarified that while the problem had been drastically resolved before qualifying, the pace had not actually improved.

“The downshifts were a lot better for Max, they tuned the software and they seemed to be working much better,” he said.

“Q1, he goes to the top of the time sheets after the first run and then, thereafter really, once he got into Q2, the car was bottoming.

“The drivers were unhappy and there were issues that we hadn’t had in that in that first session.

“We were completely, completely out of the window.”

Horner was asked what Red Bull will do as a follow-up to the disappointing qualifying given that they are operating under parc ferme conditions and are unable to make any adjustments without requiring a pitlane start.

“First of all, we’ve got to put the disappointment behind us,” Horner responded. “Focus on… there’s a reason behind everything, is to try and understand what’s causing the lack of performance today.

“Obviously, we’re limited on what we can do for tomorrow.

“Maybe some rain around as well, Safety Cars, you just don’t know.

“We’ll keep fighting all the way to the end. But this weekend, certainly throwing up some challenges so far.”

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