Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has conceded that reliability problems could be an Achilles heel for the team this season.
The championship challenger had to retire Sergio Perez’s car in the season-opening race in Bahrain and saw Max Verstappen’s car stop out on track at Imola during the opening day’s practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Asked if reliability is a concern for Red Bull in its bid to take on Mercedes this season Horner said: “I think it’s an Achilles heel for all the teams, when you’re always pushing the envelope.
“Obviously, reliability is something you’re always nervous about but I’d rather it happen on a Friday rather than a Sunday.”
Mercedes posted just one retirement last year compared to Red Bull’s six, five of which involved Max Verstappen, significantly hampering his quest to claim second in the championship from Valtteri Bottas.
So far this year, Perez’s car issue in Bahrain was related to an issue with the Honda power unit while Verstappen’s practice problems in Imola were down to the driveshaft.
Honda made significant improvements to its engine ahead of this season but revealed before the weekend’s race at Imola that it had “been working hard to take countermeasures where required” following the first race failure.
Asked if he was happy with Honda’s response, Horner steered around the question, saying: “You’re constantly trying to polish and develop your car where you can. Sometimes it is very subtle, some races it’s a bit more than others.”
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