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today is Dec 07, 2022

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted the team may have gone too far in its bid to reduce its car’s weight after Max Verstappen encountered problems with his Drag Reduction System during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

Verstappen’s DRS malfunctioned during qualifying, spoiling his final run and costing him a chance to beat Charles Leclerc to pole position. The team made repairs to it overnight, but the problem recurred intermittently during the race.

Horner said the team had worked to reduce the weight of its car but said the reliability problem they had experienced indicated they may have gone too far.

“Obviously it needs further analysis,” he said. “Of course we’re chasing every ounce of performance and weight is a factor as well. Maybe we’ve been too ambitious there.

“But I think we need to understand exactly what the issue is. We thought we had a fix but, unfortunately, it didn’t prove to be a reliable fix for the whole of the race.”

Red Bull made several attempts to solve the problem during the race. At one stage they advised Verstappen on his radio to press his DRS button when he was no longer on the exit kerb at the final corner.

Verstappen said he tried many different approaches but could not make his DRS work consistently.

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“There is nothing you can do because, I mean, I’m not stupid, once you get the light and the activation beep, then you press the paddle. If it doesn’t open, there’s clearly an issue.

(L to R): Max Verstappen, Red Bull; George Russell, Mercedes; Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2022 Gallery: 2022 Spanish Grand Prix in pictures “I spammed it like 50 times at one point on the straight and it’s just not opening, so there was clearly an issue. I tried all different kinds of things: Stay off the kerb, on the kerb, open it a tiny bit later but it was just broken, or like malfunctioning. So we clearly have an issue there on this wing.”

Reliability has been a cause for concern at Red Bull this year. The team has had three race-ending failures relating to the power unit during the 2022 season, with further problems on both cars during the Miami Grand Prix. After Leclerc retired from the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix with a problem on his Ferrari, Verstappen said Red Bull must minimise further losses due to technical faults.

“It’s just things we can improve, right? That issue with the DRS, of course, was quite costly but at the end, we still won the race, so as a team we are quite flexible. We adapt quickly if we have issues and we try to work around it, even during the race, so that’s good.

“Of course we’ll try to make sure that doesn’t happen again. But we didn’t retire, which other teams did. So that’s already a good improvement and you can see, it completely swings the championship around again.

“So from our side, we just have to try and be really consistent and try not to make too many mistakes. I mean, you’re not a robot, mistakes will happen, but we’ll try to minimise it.”

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