Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner says he is surprised by Mercedes’ disappointing performance. He said it’s a surprise Mercedes haven’t won a race this year, given eight years of good form and an experimental start to the season.
Until last year, Mercedes had won eight straight constructors’ championships, but fell short of Ferrari and Red Bull at the start of the 2022 F1 season.
Despite making some recovery over the course of the season and closing in on second-placed Ferrari in the championship, a ninth straight win for Mercedes now looks impossible.
Mercedes surprised its competitors with a very experimental W13 look at this year’s winter testing. It soon became apparent that Mercedes had gone the wrong way with the ‘zero pod’ concept, which had no sidepods.
With the big rule changes planned for this year, being well prepared was very important. According to Christian Horner, it is surprising that despite starting these preparations so early, Mercedes still miscalculated.
“They switched focus very early[last year]. They talked a lot about sacrificing last year’s championship so they could work on the car for 2022. ‘ said Horner on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.
“When the car was introduced, we expected Mercedes to be as dominant as before, especially because that update[the sidepods]looked very radically different.”
“It was of course a blow for us to beat them in the drivers’ championship last year and we expected them to want revenge this year. It’s very surprising that we haven’t won a Grand Prix in 2018.”
Finally, Horner also opened up about Red Bull Racing’s reaction to Mercedes’ radical car design.
Christian Horner said he knew immediately that the Mercedes creation was made according to the rules and was not illegal, which he saw as a big difference in interpretation from other teams.
“But the people here were convinced very quickly that it wouldn’t work with our design. We were sure we were on the right track.”
Already during testing in Bahrain, it seemed clear that Mercedes had failed to build a winning car for the first time in nine years.