Formula 1

Christian Horner Blasts McLaren’s Tire Choice: Claims Misstep Denied Norris British GP Victory

Christian Horner, the team principal for Red Bull Racing, unleashed a pointed critique of rival team McLaren’s tire strategy at the recent British Grand Prix, questioning their decision during a critical phase of the race. Horner highlighted this tactical misstep as a pivotal factor that, in his view, cost McLaren driver Lando Norris a potential win.

The crux of Horner’s dissatisfaction centered around McLaren’s choice not to employ new medium tires for Norris during the final stint of the race. According to Horner, this could have provided Norris with better traction and a competitive edge crucial for maintaining the lead. “\[McLaren\] 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…,” Horner lamented.

Norris had earlier demonstrated a strong performance, smartly transitioning to intermediate tires to briefly lead the race. However, this advantage was quickly overturned when Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton opted for slick tires a lap sooner than Norris, a move that eventually led him to victory. Norris initially kept pace but struggled as his soft tires degraded rapidly, resulting in him falling behind Horner’s own driver, Max Verstappen, who was strategically equipped with more durable hard tires.

This tire degradation issue seemed to underscore McLaren’s strategic blunder, as Horner pointed out, “\[The softs\] 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.”

Despite the competitive edge brought on by strategic decision-making, Horner expressed admiration for Hamilton’s victory, describing him as a “fierce competitor” whose win at Silverstone was both “popular and well-deserved.”

Horner also provided a broader reflection on the unpredictable nature of the race, stating, “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.” He detailed further strategic choices, including the timing of tire changes in response to the weather, “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 weapon time. That one lap extra, on the inter, while it leapfrogged us into third, I think we damaged the tire a bit on that lap.”

The narrative of the race as recounted by Horner vividly captures the high stakes and rapid strategic shifts that define Formula 1 racing. As teams retrospectively analyze their decisions, the insights from experienced figures like Horner not only highlight the critical importance of tire strategy but also feed into the ever-evolving competitive tactics of the sport.

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Alex Harrington

Alex started racing at a young age so certainly knows his way around a car and a track. He can just about put a sentence together too, which helps. He has a great interest in the latest models, but would throw all of his money at a rusty old French classic and a 300ZX. Contact: [email protected]

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