Christian Horner: Formula 1 facing 'smash and grab' 2020 season

Red Bull's Christian Horner says Formula 1 is facing a "smash-and-grab" 2020 season due to the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic, which will increase the importance of limited car upgrades

Christian Horner: Formula 1 facing 'smash and grab' 2020 season

The delayed 2020 season is set to get underway with the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend, but so far only eight European races - including double headers at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone - have confirmed with slots back on the rearranged calendar.

As the coronavirus lockdowns swept away the expected 2020 schedule after the aborted Australian GP, the car updates that teams had planned to introduce in the early races are now being implemented differently across the grid.

PLUS: The big questions for F1 2020 2.0

The upgrade limits for 2021 are also an important consideration for the teams as the current designs will largely be carried over, with two tweaks allowed under a token system supervised by the FIA.

Red Bull, which will run an upgrade Honda engine in Austria, is one of several teams introducing major upgrades for the new season opener - while its 'Class A' rival Ferrari is waiting until the third round, which will take place in Hungary.

"I think we had a good pre-season," Red Bull team boss Horner told Autosport.

"It felt like Mercedes still are a sniff ahead. But it's all going to come down to the rate of development. And obviously Honda's evolution as well.

"I'm sure the top teams will all be bringing updates that would have normally been either [added on] in the early European season and it's going to be [about] 'how much is that worth?' Who's going to be putting on the most performance onto their cars?

"And of course we've got a unique situation where we've effectively got a year-and-a-half to get out of these cars.

"So it's going to be a smash-and-grab kind of season this year, with prolonged development that goes through with this car carried over into next year."

PLUS: Is Red Bull F1's only hope of a Mercedes challenge in 2020?

Horner also outlined how Red Bull had altered its plans for the adding its normal early-2020 updates to the RB16 in light of the spring factory shutdowns that resulted from the lockdowns.

"The normal development process has continued because obviously a lot of the development was in the pipeline following the testing, which would have normally been introduced in Zandvoort - or updates that would have also happened in Vietnam," he said.

"So they all get rolled up and packaged into what will appear on the car in Austria.

"It's going to be important to get up to speed quickly. "Red Bull Ring is tricky - it's a unique kind of circuit.

"I don't think you're going to get a really a pattern of things [over the two Austrian races] - even Budapest is a unique circuit.

"So it's only really going to be by the time to we get to Silverstone that you [will] start to get a clear picture."

You can read the full interview with Christian Horner in this week's issue of Autosport magazine, which previews the delayed 2020 F1 season and is available in shops and online from 2 July.

shares
comments
First impressions from F1's locked-down grand prix at the Red Bull Ring

Previous article

First impressions from F1's locked-down grand prix at the Red Bull Ring

Next article

Grosjean: Tough 2019 proved constant F1 upgrades can be a negative

Grosjean: Tough 2019 proved constant F1 upgrades can be a negative
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Alex Kalinauckas
What Ferrari must do to reach the peak in F1 again Plus

What Ferrari must do to reach the peak in F1 again

Former Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren engineer Rodi Basso on what he’s learned about successful teams, and what the famous Italian squad needs to do to get back on top in Formula 1

The defining traits that set F1’s best apart Plus

The defining traits that set F1’s best apart

What makes the very best drivers in Formula 1 stand out among what is already a highly elite bunch? ANDREW BENSON takes a closer look at those with the special blend of skill, judgment, feel 
and attitude that sets only a select 
few apart from the rest.

Formula 1
Mar 7, 2021
How an unlikely F1 outsider gained acceptance Plus

How an unlikely F1 outsider gained acceptance

Channel 4's decision to pick Steve Jones as presenter of its Formula 1 coverage in 2016 raised eyebrows, and his presenting style grated with many fans at first. But, says BEN EDWARDS, Jones has developed into a presenter ripe for modern F1's direction

Formula 1
Mar 6, 2021
The updates Williams hopes will lead to a points-scoring return Plus

The updates Williams hopes will lead to a points-scoring return

After producing a car which demonstrated progress but lacked the points to prove it last year, Williams starts its new era of team ownership with the FW43B, its bid to continue the climb up the Formula 1 grid in 2021

Formula 1
Mar 5, 2021
How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare Plus

How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare

The 2020 Formula 1 season was Ferrari's worst for 40 years as it slumped to sixth in the standings. A repeat performance will not be acceptable for the proud Italian team, which has adopted a notably pragmatic approach to forging its path back to the top

Formula 1
Mar 4, 2021
Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery Plus

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery

In the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 team launch of the season, the rebranded Aston Martin squad’s changes go much further than the striking paint job. But rather than a restart, the team hopes to build on top of solid foundations.

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with Plus

The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with

The team formerly known as Racing Point gambled successfully on a Mercedes look-alike in 2020 as it mounted a strong challenge for third in the constructors' race and won the Sakhir GP. Now clothed in British racing green, Aston Martin's first Formula 1 challenger since 1960 provides the clearest indicator yet of what to expect from the new-for-2021 regulations

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021 Plus

The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021