Christian Horner says he does not regret losing Dan Fallows to Aston Martin, despite Fernando Alonso finishing on the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Aston Martin are the most improved Formula 1 team over the winter, having finished seventh in the constructors’ championship in 2022, and they have been Red Bull‘s closest challengers in Sakhir.
Fallows, who was Red Bull‘s top aerodynamics engineer for 15 years, left the Milton Keynes-based team in the middle of 2021 as he took six months of gardening leave before joining Aston Martin in April 2022.
Asked about any regrets of losing Fallows, Horner said: “No because I think we have a wonderful team and everything has to evolve. Nothing stands standstill.
“It’s flattering to see the resemblance of that car to us. So it was it was great to see the three of them on the podium.
“They [Aston Martin] looked very strong in the race. It was enjoyable to see Fernando up there, it gives the 40 somethings hope. There is life in the old boy yet and he raced very well.
“He’s still so competitive and the Aston looks a good car. Based on one race, they were the second strongest team.”
Horner on Red Bull’s wind tunnel disadvantage
After being deemed to break the budget cap in the 2021 season, Red Bull were given a wind tunnel penalty which will see them have 12 percent less aerodynamic testing time than Ferrari, 17 percent less than Mercedes and 37 percent less than Aston Martin.
Horner feels people can only look at how much the penalty has affected Red Bull after the season.
“You have to do it over a 12-month period because it’s not just this year’s car, it’s next year’s car,” said Horner.
“I think the really positive thing for us is that we’re not dealing with a fundamental issue that soaks up that resource and time.
“So it was vital for us to be able to cope with that penalty to have a solid starting point.
“I think that’s what the team have done a great job in achieving. It just focuses everybody, drives efficiency and what we lost in wind tunnel time, we gained in motivation.”
Red Bull not getting carried away
Verstappen had never won in Sakhir prior to Sunday and it’s the first time Red Bull have won the season-opener since 2011.
Having dominated the second half of last season, Red Bull appear to have continued where they lifted off, but Horner is not getting carried away.
“I think the problem is we have only got one data set, which is at this track,” Horner added. “So we are not taking anything for granted.
“So let’s see Jeddah in two weeks Melbourne. After that, I think once we got two or three circuits under our belt, we will get a much better picture of strengths and weaknesses of our car and opposition.
“But certainly it’s a very healthy start and a very well executed race to bring in those points.
“Twenty three races is a marathon. “It’s about being consistent over the campaign. Today was a great start.
“Checo lost out at the start. The dirty side, the benefit of the brand new tyre for Charles [Leclerc] helped him.
“But, the strategy and the pace we had, enabled Checo to pass him and then it was a question of managing the race to the finish.
“We fully expect our rivals to come back hard and in the future races.”