Christian Horner claims rivals ‘scheming’ to stop Max Verstappen

Christian Horner on Red Bull's success and hints at next step

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Christian Horner is convinced Red Bull’s F1 rivals will be “scheming” to stop his team’s dominance this season. Red Bull’s huge pace advantage in the first two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia has left many in the paddock already resigned to defeat in a title challenge.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have left Ferrari and Mercedes in their dust with the searing pace of their seemingly uncatchable car, the RB19. Lewis Hamilton, who enjoyed his own sustained period of dominance at Mercedes, claims to have “never seen a car so fast”, while his teammate George Russell has already tipped Red Bull to win every race this season. 

On early evidence, it is conceivable that Verstappen could break his own record of 15 race wins in a single season in 2023, despite losing out to Perez in Jeddah. 

Red Bull have increased their supremacy on the field even from an utterly-dominant 2022, but team principal Horner is remaining cautious as he anticipates a revival from his closest challengers.

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Horner has hinted that he thinks Red Bull’s rivals will be looking to plot his team’s downfall as they look to close the ominous gap in pace with the new RB19 masterpiece. 

“There is always something, always a technical directive that drops, a game changer,” Horner told inews. “You can guarantee that the others will be scheming, ‘how can we slow them down’. It’s part of the game. Having lived through it before you become more seasoned in how to ride it out.”

The closest battle at the front of the grid is almost guaranteed to be between Verstappen and Perez this season. Verstappen grasped an early edge by securing a point for the fastest lap in Jeddah, while Horner hailed Perez’s “best Grand Prix” as he held off the Dutchman for his fifth race victory.

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And Horner has now challenged Perez to match the remarkable consistency of Verstappen after providing the Mexican with the auspicious platform to compete for regular podium positions. 

He added: “Checo was on the ropes careerwise. We did a deal that gave him a second wind and he has now won four grands prix and numerous podiums. 

“He is driving better and better and finding his confidence. The biggest challenge for Checo is sustaining that over 23 events because that is where Max has become so strong over the last few years with the relentless consistency that he has.”

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