Horner: Only a 'rabbit out the hat' will stop F1 '20 being a classic

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes Formula 1 is set for a "classic season" between his outfit, Mercedes and Ferrari "unless somebody pulls a rabbit out of a hat"

Horner: Only a 'rabbit out the hat' will stop F1 '20 being a classic

Unbeaten in F1's hybrid era, Mercedes has wrapped up every drivers' and constructors' title since 2014 ahead of each respective season's finale, as neither Red Bull nor Ferrari have managed to consistently match the Silver Arrows' performance over a campaign.

Last year, Ferrari looked poised to finally end Mercedes' dominant streak as it grabbed the headlines in the pre-season, only for Mercedes to then start the season by winning eight races on the bounce.

But while 2019 featured new aero regulations aimed at improving overtaking, which Red Bull believes hampered its start to the season, and a total switch to thinner-tread tyres - which seemed to catch out Ferrari - no changes of a similar level will follow for 2020.

And with the top teams' performance having seemed to converge over the course of last year, Horner is convinced F1 should finally enjoy a proper multi-team title scrap once more.

"We've got continuity across all aspects of next year with drivers, with regulations, with engine supply, engine regulation," Horner said.

"So unless somebody pulls a rabbit out of a hat, then I think we're set for a really exciting year next year between, Mercedes, Ferrari, ourselves.

"And it could be a real classic season."

Starting the year slowly and then making up ground to its main rivals over the year has been trend for Red Bull during the hybrid era, and its lead driver Max Verstappen - who has re-signed with the team through 2023 - has stressed the importance for the Austrian team to be in the mix from the get-go.

Horner sees no reason for why that should not be the case in 2020, especially given the progress made by engine partner Honda last year.

"The front wing regulation change, and the tyre change over the winter seemed to affect us perhaps more than our opponents," Horner reiterated.

"And of course also, at that time we were still catching up on from the power perspective.

"But I think from Austria onwards, we really got on top of that and the second half of the year for us has been very competitive.

"I mean, if I look back to 2017, we had a fantastic car at the start of the year, we should have been on the front row in Melbourne, we won the second race in China.

"We had a very, very competitive car, the beginning of '17. And again, that was with stability of regulations, and I think we have that again from 2019 into '20.

"You can't gauge what others are doing. But hopefully, theoretically, the Melbourne ['20] car will be an upgrade of the Abu Dhabi ['19] car."

shares
comments
Stroll: I need to look to myself to beat F1 team-mate Perez

Previous article

Stroll: I need to look to myself to beat F1 team-mate Perez

Next article

Williams F1 team explains factors in Nissany test driver decision

Williams F1 team explains factors in Nissany test driver decision
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021