F1 News: Christian Horner Calls Out Flawed McLaren Strategy In 'Bizarre' British GP Moment

Christian Horner, Team Principal of Oracle Red Bull Racing, speaks at the Red Bull Fan Zone, a private event at Oracle headquarters, on Wednesday October 18, 2023.
Christian Horner, Team Principal of Oracle Red Bull Racing, speaks at the Red Bull Fan Zone, a private event at Oracle headquarters, on Wednesday October 18, 2023. / Jay Janner/American-Statesman / USA

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner criticized McLaren's tire strategy after the British Grand Prix, suggesting it cost them a potential victory. Horner questioned why Lando Norris wasn't switched to medium tires for the final stint, as this could have provided the necessary traction to challenge for the win.

McLaren’s strategy at Silverstone not only allowed Lewis Hamilton to take the lead but also saw them lose second place to Max Verstappen, despite their car being faster than the RB20.

Starting from P3, Lando Norris showcased an impressive pace during the crossover period to intermediates, taking the lead of the race. However, the tide turned in Lewis Hamilton's favor when Mercedes pitted for slicks one lap earlier than McLaren. This strategic move granted Hamilton track position, yet Norris remained a contender, as the soft rubber isn't known for its longevity.

Sadly, McLaren’s decision to fit Norris with soft tires backfired, as they quickly degraded and caused him to fall behind Max Verstappen, who was on the more durable hard tires. Norris's race could have turned out differently if McLaren had chosen a more resilient tire option.

Speaking after the race at Silverstone, Horner told the media:

“[McLaren] had a new medium in their pocket. Mercedes didn’t, we didn’t. Wow. I fully expected to see a yellow set of tires go on there. Maybe they will look back with hindsight…

“You’ve got to congratulate Lewis. He is a fierce competitor, I know this one means a lot to him. A popular win, and well-deserved.”

Horner described the ‘bizarre’ turn of events where the RB20’s lack of speed was evident, yet Max Verstappen managed to finish in second place. He added:

“We nearly ended up winning it. It was a bizarre race. In the first part, we just didn’t have the pace on the medium tire.

“Mercedes looked like they’d got it under control. Then the rain came and McLaren looked like they’d got it under control. We were dropping off the back of it. At that point, I was worried about Carlos Sainz who was having a go at Max.

“We made the call to go onto the inter at the right time. That one lap extra, on the inter, while it leapfrogged us into third, I think we damaged the tyre a bit on that lap.

“Until the others got deg as well, we dropped off. We started coming back, things leveled out. Then it was about which tire you take for the final stint. We’d seen that the softs didn’t look great, doing six or seven laps before falling apart for other cars at the start of the race. So we went for the hard tire. It was our best chance.”


Published
Saajan Jogia

SAAJAN JOGIA