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Horner calls for less testing

As Max Verstappen dominates the first day of testing, team boss Christian Horner claims that three days is too much.

The Briton’s comments fly in the face of those of Fernando Alonso and George Russell, the latter having suggested that teams be allowed to run two cars, while the Spaniard cited F1 as the only sport in the world for which participants cannot practice.

“Look at the reliability we’ve had this morning,” said Horner, when asked if he believed there is a need for more track time before the season gets underway. “I think we had one red flag very early on that was rectified pretty quickly.

“These regulations are pretty stable,” he continued, “indeed, one could even argue the opposite when you look at the reliability, and so on. You could almost say that with the number of races the promoters are looking to cram in now, why not go two days of testing and then go racing.

“That would create a little bit of a more mixed field at the beginning of the season, is that such a bad thing? You’ve got enough of the year to then sort it out.”

Previously, testing meant little to the sports owners, but with the event sponsored and anticipation for the new season slowly reaching fever pitch – certainly on social media – the sport’s bosses clearly intend milking it.

While Horner feels pre-season testing could be reduced in 2024 and 2025, he admits that with the introduction of the new formula in 2026 teams will need more track time.

“Obviously, everything is new in terms of concepts of engine and chassis,” he said. “But with the current regulations, I think three days is ample.”

The Red Bull was equally unsympathetic when asked about the bouncing still being suffered by a number of rival teams. When asked if the RB19 had suffered any issues, he dryly replied: “No, but we didn’t suffer last year so we didn’t expect to.”

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