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Horner: F1 could follow IndyCar’s lead, use V6 twin-turbo engines

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Formula 1 could be set to follow IndyCar’s lead and introduce V6 twin-turbo engines upon the planned regulation change in 2021, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

F1 has raced with V6 turbo hybrid power units since 2014 in a bid to make the sport more road-relevant and efficient, with cars racing on 30 per cent less fuel and recording faster times than ever.

However, the reduced sound of the power units compared to their V8 and V10 predecessors, combined with their complexity and cost has led F1’s bosses to push for a change in specification for 2021.

Meetings have already taken place with a number of manufacturers both inside and outside of the sport in a bid to define F1’s future engine direction, with various avenues being explored.

While Horner would like to see F1 return to normally-aspirated V8 or V10 engines used in the past, he believes a more realistic option could yield inspiration from IndyCar.

“I doubt we will go back to normally aspirated, despite it being my wish. We will end up with a V6 twin-turbo I believe,” Horner told reporters in Hungary, as quoted by crash.net.

“But the acoustics are a key aspect of what has been put on the table because when this engine was introduced the costs or the attractiveness by noise were fundamental parts of what the engine should be.”

The FIA has outlined its main criteria for F1’s future power options, centering on four areas:

  • a desire to maintain F1 as the pinnacle of motor sport technology, and as a laboratory for developing technology that is relevant to road cars
  • striving for future power units to be powerful, while becoming simpler and less costly to develop and produce
  • improving the sound of the power units
  • a desire to allow drivers to drive harder at all times.

IndyCar introduced its current engine specification back in 2012, and, in a rather neat coincidence, is also able to revise its power options for 2021.

Horner impressed by Verstappen’s handling of luckless run

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Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner is impressed by how Max Verstappen has dealt with a luckless first half of the 2017 season, tipping the Dutchman to bounce back after the summer break.

Verstappen has picked up just one podium finish through the first 11 rounds of the year, enduring a run of five retirements in seven races from Bahrain to Austria that has left him 50 points behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the drivers’ championship.

Verstappen’s retirements have been down to a mix of on-track incidents and mechanical issues, but Horner is impressed by the youngster’s approach through the first real difficult point of his career.

“He’s been unbelievably lucky until this point, because he has been driving at such a high level,” Horner said.

“To be taken out in Barcelona, through no fault of his own, to have had successive engine failures in Montreal and Baku, where he was in a position to certainly finish on the podium if not win the grand prix was immensely frustrating.

“But he has dealt with it incredibly well and I’m certain that after the summer break he is going to have a strong second half of the year.”

Red Bull has worked hard to cut the gap to pace-setters Mercedes and Ferrari through the opening half of the season, and Horner says the team will not relent in its bid to get on level terms until the end of the season.

“I think the team is working very well collectively. We’re getting performance on the car, we’ve got some venues coming up that hopefully will suit us and we’ll keep pushing all the way to the final race in Abu Dhabi,” Horner said.

“There is a big gap between us and the cars ahead but there are opportunities in the remaining races and we’re going to be going all out to try and achieve what we can, and obviously the lessons you learn apply to next year anyway.”

Horner: Halo introduction to F1 for 2018 ‘a shame’

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Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner believes the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection device for the 2018 season is “a shame”, but understands the FIA’s reasons for doing so.

The FIA confirmed ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix that the F1 Strategy Group had approved the Halo’s introduction for 2018, marking a first step for the sport in its bid to improve cockpit safety standards.

The move has split opinion throughout racing, with Horner expressing his regret over its introduction, particularly given the added weight and its appearance.

“I think the FIA have made the decision, and I understand the reasons they felt compelled to make it, but personally, I don’t like the Halo,” Horner said.

“I think it moves away from open-cockpit racing, which Formula 1 has been.

“There are obviously challenges with it. It is quite heavy.

“We have been given an extra five kilos of weight allowance to implement it, but it’s not very pretty.

“It’s a shame it’s on a grand prix car for next year.”

Red Bull F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo shared Horner’s uncertainty about the Halo, admitting he is concerned by the negative reaction from fans.

“I was in favor of head protection. Do I think the Halo is the best thing? I’m not convinced,” Ricciardo said.

“It’s difficult. All I’ve heard so far from fans is negative comments so that worries me. I know we are the ones in the car and our safety is important.

“But at the same time – obviously it won’t happen – but if every fan suddenly walked away from Formula 1 there wouldn’t be any F1 probably.

“I’m surprised they pulled the trigger on it because not everyone was in favor of it.”

Sainz: Joining Red Bull Racing ‘my one and only target’

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Carlos Sainz Jr. says moving up to Red Bull’s senior Formula 1 team remains his “one and only target” despite recently suggesting he could leave the energy drink giant’s driver program for 2018.

Sainz caused a stir over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend when he said a fourth year with Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s B-team, was “unlikely” in 2018, only for program bosses Christian Horner and Helmut Marko to stress he remained under contract.

Sainz moved to clear up the comments, re-affirming his commitment to Red Bull and making peace with his bosses.

“I have my opinion and I said it in that very moment. Maybe I could have used a different wording to put it,” Sainz told the official F1 website.

“It is not something that I enjoyed, seeing Helmut Marko and Christian Horner going against me, but it sometimes happens in a Formula 1 career. But it should be over, so turn the page.

“From my side there is nothing else than sheer ambition. And sometimes in the heat of ambition you say things. But that is me! I do have targets and objectives.”

Sainz stressed that his goal is still to race for Red Bull’s senior team one day, despite both of its seats currently being locked down by Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

“It is my one and only target to be a Red Bull driver in the future. That is what I want, and that is what I have said a hundred times before,” Sainz said.

“And if one answer said in the heat of the moment is spinning out of control, that is just ‘modern times’.”

Horner: Red Bull would consider ‘significant’ offers for Sainz

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Red Bull would consider releasing Carlos Sainz Jr. from his Formula 1 contract if the price was right as speculation about the Spaniard’s future continues to circulate the paddock.

Sainz said over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend that a fourth year with Toro Rosso in 2018, Red Bull’s B-team in F1, was unlikely, only for his bosses to snap back and confirm he remained under contract for next season.

With Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen locked in at Red Bull for the foreseeable future, Sainz appears to be stuck at Toro Rosso, leading to suggestions he could be set for a move up the grid.

A report in the German media over the Silverstone weekend even suggested he could be in line to replace Jolyon Palmer at Renault for the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of the month, but Horner was quick to rebuff this.

“I don’t know where these rumors come from, but I cannot believe that these rumors are out there for the Hungarian race,” Horner said, as quoted by Reuters.

“Carlos Sainz has a contract with Red Bull Racing. There are two years left on that contract.

“If somebody was prepared to make an offer, of course, we’d consider it.”

However, Horner stressed that it would need to be an impressive offer given Red Bull’s investment in Sainz, having funded his career from Formula BMW right the way up to F1.

“It would have to have a significant value attached to it because we’ve invested in Carlos significantly,” Horner said.

“You’re not just going to give an asset away.”

Should Sainz depart Toro Rosso at the end of the season, 2016 GP2 champion Pierre Gasly, who currently races in Japan’s Super Formula series, is next in line on Red Bull’s junior program to get a shot in F1.