Title fight to be about "marginal gains", says Horner


Christian Horner believes the 2021 title fight will be decided by reliability, the constraints of the budget cap and marginal gains.

Heading into the third round of the season, just one point separates Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, and that the point the world champion won by posting fastest lap during the recent Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

With one win and one pole position apiece, the championship is shaping up to be a battle between the seven-time world champion and the man who would be King, hopefully with the support of their respective teammates.

With teams already switching focus to 2022, the battle for this year's crown means that Red Bull and Mercedes will have to hold off on a full move over to next year's car, and Christian Horner believes that this, combined with reliability, the constraints of the budget cap and marginal gains will ultimately decide who wears the crown.

"It's all going to be about marginal gains," says Horner. "It's going to be about who can develop the car effectively within the budget cap.

"It's going to be about reliability, it's going to be about operational incremental gains, it's going to be about human performance and it's going to be about the drivers.

"That's what it should be about fundamentally," he adds, "the two best drivers in the sport going head-to-head."

However, the Briton knows that Mercedes - which has won every title since the introduction of the hybrid formula - will not give up without a fight.

"Mercedes, you can see the progress they've made since a difficult start in the Bahrain test," he admits. "They're in good shape and they're not standing still.

"I certainly hope we can sustain this level of performance," he adds. "We need to keep pushing, trying to find performance and try to make sure we have perfect weekends.

"There will be strengths and weaknesses that probably play to both teams," he admits of the months ahead. "We're only on race two and there's such a long way to go that it's going to be approximately four races that we'll get a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams and cars."

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Published: 26/04/2021
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