Christian Horner offers hope to Red Bull rivals in 2024

The Red Bull team principal anticipates a challenging season for the Milton Keynes outfit


Despite a dominant display from Red Bull at the 2024 Formula 1 season opener in Bahrain, team principal Christian Horner expects the competition to be closer this season than it was in 2023. 

Max Verstappen cruised to victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix, taking the chequered flag with a 22 second gap to teammate Sergio Perez, who finished second. With the team taking a 1-2, Red Bull look on course to enjoy another dominant season, continuing on from the remarkable performance in 2023 which saw the team win all but one race.

Horner, however, has been reluctant to draw too many conclusions from Red Bull’s performance in Bahrain and placed an emphasis on the unique track conditions of the Bahrain International Circuit, which have typically played to Red Bull’s advantage.

“I’ve been in this business too long to draw too many conclusions from a single race,” Horner told the press. “It’s a fantastic start, we’ll enjoy this moment, maximum point score, but it’s a long season with many different venues, different challenges, different conditions.”

Sergio Perez leads the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz plus Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso and the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri at the 2024 Bahrain GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez leads the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz plus Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri at the 2024 Bahrain GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Although Red Bull enjoyed a hefty winning margin in the first Grand Prix of 2024, pre-season testing and Friday’s competitive qualifying session suggested that the rest of the grid have begun to close the gap to Red Bull.

Appearing mindful of this fact, Horner suggested that despite this early season success, Red Bull might not enjoy such easy victories further down the line.

“What we’ve seen in testing is that things are getting closer,” said Horner.

“Now, we got it right this weekend. We took the right tyres into the race, we executed a perfect race with both cars and we got a great finish. But I think that [the field] will converge.”

Are Red Bull playing down advantage?

Whilst Horner took a humble approach to Red Bull‘s dominant display, it remains the fact that Verstappen took victory by a margin of 22 seconds — a ten second increase from his winning margin at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.

When questioned about this fact, Horner was quick to play down its significance, particularly as it pertains to the performance of Sergio Perez, who finished second to Verstappen in 2023 as well.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull during the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“Everything’s relative, isn’t it?” said Horner. “Checo [Perez] came from P5, Max was obviously managing the race as many drivers are managing different tyres at different times.

“It’s not a question of how much you win by, it’s a question about winning, and we won today.”

Horner paid credit to Red Bull‘s differing approach to tyre strategy, putting forwards the team’s use of the soft tyres as an explanation for Verstappen‘s all-out dominance.

“I think the back end of the race was exaggerated by the the offset of tyre that we carried in,” Horner stated said. “I was surprised that others didn’t carry softs into the race when it was clearly, in these conditions, the better tyre to have.”

Jasmine Hughes
Jasmine Hughes
Experienced in digital content creation, Jasmine Hughes has written for a number of online publications, joining Total Motorsport in 2024. She previously served as FormulaNerds' Formula E Editor, leading coverage of the 2023 Formula E season. She has been watching Formula 1 since the age of 4, after falling in love with Fernando Alonso's blue-yellow Renault R25.
- Advertisment -


The start of the 2024 Hungarian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Driver Ratings – 2024 Hungarian GP

Oscar Piastri stunned fans at the Hungaroring by taking his first career victory at the 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand...
Nick Cassidy walking down the pit lane at the 2024 London E-Prix | Formula E

Emotional Cassidy ‘incredibly sad’ to miss out in dramatic Formula E title race

Nick Cassidy was almost lost for words after he dramatically lost the 2024 Formula E title to Pascal Wehrlein...
Kyle Larson of the #5 Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400 | NASCAR / Getty Images

Why NASCAR waited and ended the Brickyard 400 under caution

Kyle Larson, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, winning the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the thirty-year anniversary of...
Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes during the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen slams Red Bull over shocking 2024 Hungarian GP performance

Max Verstappen slams Red Bull for a shocking display at the 2024 Hungarian GP, calling the car slow and...
Oscar Piastri celebrates winning the 2024 Hungarian GP | McLaren F1 Team

Emotional Oscar Piastri relives maiden F1 win at Hungarian GP

An emotional Oscar Piastri said his 2024 Hungarian GP victory was a “dream come true” as he took his...
Colton Herta wins the IndyCar 2024 Grand Prix of Toronto | Penske Entertainment: Travis Hinkle

Colton Herta Triumphs in Toronto, Ending 40-Race Winless Streak

Michael Andretti’s jubilant reaction following the IndyCar Grand Prix of Toronto at Exhibition Place was unmistakable as Colton Herta...
Pascal Wehrlein celebrates winning the Formula E championship at the London E-Prix | Formula E

Victory and redemption: Pascal Wehrlein’s road to becoming Formula E champion

Following a wide-open battle that boiled down to the very last race of the 2024 season, Pascal Wehrlein officially...
Mitch Evans looks on at the 2024 Portland E-Prix | Formula E

Evans hits out at Jaguar: Team were working against me in Formula E finale

Mitch Evans feels his Jaguar team were working against him during the Formula E finale in London as he...
Pascal Wehrlein celebrates winning 2024 Formula E championship | Formula E

London E-Prix Results 2024 – Formula E Round 16

Pascal Wehrlein emerged victorious in one of the most dramatic races in Formula E history, securing his maiden Drivers'...
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes battle for track position at Turn 2 during the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen escapes crash penalty: Blames Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen blames Lewis Hamilton for turning in too early for their Hungaroring crash on July 21 as the...
- Advertisment -