Christian Horner fires back at Mercedes “downgrade” claim

Jaden Diaz

Heading into last weekend’s action, James Allison claimed that Red Bull have gone backwards with their upgrades. The Mercedes Technical Director believes the RB20’s performance has regressed since its Imola update package. Unsurprisingly, Christian Horner was not a big fan of this analysis.

In more ways than one, the rivalry between Red Bull and Mercedes is being reignited.

George Russell was in contention for victory on Sunday but ultimately missed out after a series of mistakes. Teammate Lewis Hamilton could have fought for the win himself, were it not for a poor qualifying that compromised his Sunday.

However, Verstappen’s victory over Mercedes was not the only development in the rivalry between these two teams.

James Allison gave the following analysis to the media in Canada:

“I think that Red Bull will be strong again when it is necessary to bring a lot of speed into corners.

“But their updates so far seem to have been a downgrade. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and continue to work to improve.”

Of course, these statements were accompanied by an extensive assessment of the W15. Still, this passing comment was brought to the attention of Christian Horner.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JUNE 09: Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on after the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 09, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202406100039 // Usage for editorial use only //


The Red Bull team principal issued a very direct response to Allison’s claims.

“I think Mercedes have always gone very well on green circuits, and there were no real high-speed corners here… let’s see over the next two or three tracks if its genuine form or a one-off.

“Well, even with our downgrade, we managed to beat their upgrade,” GP blog quotes him as saying.

“So it was a rewarding race to win.”

Mercedes became the fourth team to contend for a race victory in Canada last weekend. With a better-executed race, they could have easily converted Pole Position into the top step of the podium.

Regardless, the next few rounds will be critical. Toto Wolff has been optimistic about his team’s trajectory for some time. The pace shown over the last few days has validated this belief.

However, the conditions in Montreal were generally well-suited to the W15. A more conventional track in Spain (that will surely be warmer) should confirm how far Mercedes have truly progressed.