Lewis Hamilton boost as Red Bull chief Christian Horner makes alarming 2022 admission

Red Bull were able to help Max Verstappen go toe-to-toe with Hamilton and Mercedes in 2021, but could all that effort cost them in the new season?

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Max Verstappen ‘recharged’ ahead of new F1 season

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has voiced his concerns over the 2022 Formula 1 title race, and worries that his team’s efforts to win the championship last season might come at a huge cost.

His star driver Max Verstappen will for the first time be defending his status as world champion this year after beating Lewis Hamilton to the line last term.

To give him the best chance of doing so, his Red Bull team did everything they could to make sure the Dutchman had a car which could compete with the mighty Mercedes in terms of performance.

While their efforts proved to be successful in the end, it did mean that there was less time during the season to get a head start on development of their 2022 car.

It has led to some speculating that Red Bull might be at a disadvantage compared to some other teams who were able to begin their work on their latest creations at an earlier stage.

Any disadvantage for Red Bull and Max Verstappen would be great news for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes


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Horner echoed those concerns as he spoke at the unveiling of the new RB18 car on Wednesday.

“We’re aiming very much to build on what we achieved last year, so the target is to try and obviously retain the title,” the team principal said.

“The big unknown is, have we missed something with these regulations? Has another team stolen a march because of the focus and effort that went into 2021?”

Such an admission will be music to the ears of Hamilton, who looks set to be on the grid when F1 returns next month and will be on a mission to exact revenge on the man who denied him a record eighth world title last time out.

One of those teams tipped to potentially challenge at the front is Ferrari, who began serious work on their 2022 car after introducing a power unit upgrade to their previous machine early in the second half of last season.

Spanish outlet Marca has claimed it has a source within the Italian team which told them: “The engine data looks very good, enough to be on a par with Honda and Mercedes in 2021.”

Sky Sports F1 pundit and former racer Karun Chandhok has also talked up the possibility of a Ferrari challenge, claiming that the team feels they have “made big gains on the power unit side”.

Red Bull themselves are wary of a potential challenge from the Prancing Horse in 2022, as revealed by the team’s sporting director Jonathan Wheatley.

Christian Horner has admitted his Red Bull team might be behind others in terms of 2022 car development


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“You can get snippets of information from other teams, but you don’t know if they are telling you the truth or just trying to make you worried,” he said in a podcast appearance last month.

“Basically, you have to look at your own office desk and you have to do the best job you possibly can with that.

“Ferrari, certainly the power unit, looked very strong at the end of the year. They were clearly the third fastest team at the end of the year.

“They’ve got a great driver line-up as well. I wasn’t sure about whether they would gel together as drivers but they seem to have done that very well. I think Ferrari will be the big unknown, or possibly the big threat this year.”

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