Horner starts mind games early with verdict on rivals’ F1 2024 chances

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner appears to have already started the mind games before the 2024 F1 season has even begun. 
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23,
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal in the FIA Press…

Horner’s Red Bull side are the team to catch heading into the new campaign after blowing away the opposition on their way to a double world championship success last year. 

Red Bull won all but one of the 22 races in 2023 as they cruised to a second straight constructors’ title, while Max Verstappen romped to his third consecutive drivers’ crown. 

Horner couldn’t resist ramping up the pressure on Ferrari as he offered his assessment on Red Bull’s main rivals going into the new season, which kicks off on March 2 at the Bahrain Grand Prix. 

"Ferrari is a different type of team, a national team," Horner told Sky F1. “There is a pressure which comes with that and the Italian media is absolutely brutal and scrutinise every move. 

“There is just a huge expectation. Fred [Vasseur] is a capable guy and a racer and Ferrari are a big animal in F1. Expectation will be very high for them next year."

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 and Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21,
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 and Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren…

Asked if McLaren can be contenders, particularly following the capture of Rob Marshall from Red Bull, Horner replied: "I think McLaren had a great second half of the year. There were times when they were our closest competitor. 

“They have strengthened their team and Rob will be an asset, but it's not just about one person. There are seven or eight hundred people in an F1 team and it needs the whole team to come together. 

“With Lando [Norris] and Oscar [Piastri] - who was really impressive as a debutant - they could well be a factor next year.”

Horner admitted Red Bull will soon reach “diminishing returns” with a stable set of regulations. 

“We're probably closer to the top of the development curve already,” he added. “We’re fully expecting Ferrari or Mercedes or even Aston Martin to be contenders.”

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