Red Bull team principal Christian Horner doubts Mercedes has stopped developing its 2021 car after Toto Wolff claimed there are no more upgrades coming this year.
Max Verstappen’s dominant victory in the Styrian Grand Prix came after Toto Wolff said Mercedes “continue to stick to our principle of putting our resource into 2022, with all the consequences that can have in 2021”, while Lewis Hamilton then stated the team needs updates if it is to fight back against Red Bull.
Despite those comments, Horner believes there are will likely be further developments coming to the Mercedes, but doesn’t want Red Bull to become too distracted by what its rival might or might not be doing.
“What Mercedes do is very much their business,” Horner said. “So we’re just focused on ourselves and we know that Toto likes to throw the light somewhere else, so I can’t believe that they’ll go through the rest of this year without putting a single component on the car.
“But as I say, what we can do is focus on our own job. Of course it is a balancing act between this year and next year, but if that means we’ve all got to work a bit harder than the other teams, we are fully up for it.”
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Additionally, Horner has confidence in the development plan that Red Bull is executing, even with the new regulations for 2022 in mind.
“I think we’ve always believed as a race team that you have set developments. For example, you know Monza you have to make a set of wings as with Monaco… But of course it is a balancing act between 2022 and this year, but it’s a matter of applying your resource selectively, carefully and efficiently and I think that the whole technical team, the production team, operational teams are all doing a phenomenal job.”
Given the margin of Red Bull’s advantage in Austria, Horner admits he was surprised to be able to beat Mercedes so comfortably on Sunday.
“I think from the season to date that was the first time we’ve managed to break that keeping them within DRS range. So to build the gap up to four or five seconds before the first stop and then build up … I think he was about 15 seconds ahead when Lewis pitted again to get the fastest lap was, yes, arguably, it was our strongest and most complete performance so far this year.
“So pole position, our first pole here and the win, it’s been a great two weekends so far. It was a great shame we didn’t have Checo (Perez) up there as well after a difficult first pit stop but then his recovery when we converted onto the two-stop was phenomenal.”