Horner seeks answer for slow starts
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner is eager to resolve "a weakness" which is undermining his team's Formula One title tilt.
|Horner ponders why his cars are so slow off the line|
Horner has become concerned at the starts made by both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel which has almost certainly cost them points of late.
In Germany at the end of July, Vettel dropped from pole to third by the first corner as he was slow away, falling behind the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
Just 15 days ago in Belgium, Webber made an atrocious getaway from pole, citing a technical issue on the formation lap that failed to resolve itself once the five red lights disappeared as he crashed to seventh.
From fourth on the grid at Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, Webber had fallen to ninth by the end of the first lap as he was again slow off the line which further compromised him at the first chicane.
Although Webber managed to redeem himself at Monza to finish sixth and regain the lead in the title race, Horner knows his team cannot afford any more starts like those of late if they are to stay in the hunt.
"The starts weren't fantastic," assessed Horner. "At Monza you have one of the longest straights into the first corner, so it exposes a weakness, but it's an area we are focused quite hard on.
"We do need to look at it quite carefully because our starts at the beginning of the year were excellent, very strong.
"But over the last couple of races we've lost a bit of performance on the start line, so whether that's an effect of low downforce is something we need to understand."
Horner was at least enthused by Webber's battling display on a circuit the team knew in advance would not suit their car.
The Australian pulled out a fine move on Michael Schumacher early on to jump from ninth to eighth, and after pit strategy moved him up to seventh, another excellent maneuver on Nico Hulkenberg late in the race clinched him sixth spot.
"Mark drove a blinding race," added Horner.
"He was really fired up. It's just such a shame he lost so much time behind Hulkenberg because I think he would have achieved a better result than sixth if that hadn't have been the case.
"But to leave Monza having extended our lead in the constructors' championship, albeit marginally, and for Mark to have regained the lead in the drivers' championship is something we would definitely have taken coming into the weekend."
As Horner remarked, "there were not too many tears shed" in his team's garage at Hamilton's accident, one which has given his team momentum going into the next race in Singapore.
"For us, Monza represented our biggest challenge," said Horner. "The fact we managed to outscore McLaren there is massively positive.
"Over the final five races we know there are tracks that should suit us, there are tracks that perhaps will be a bit more marginal between the two teams.
"But hopefully there won't be the offset we expected to see in Monza." Sporting Life