Constructors’ crown ‘a long shot’ for Red Bull
By Mat Coch
Saturday 11th December, 2021 - 3:04am
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has branded his team’s hopes of securing the constructors’ world championship “a long shot” at this weekend’s Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Red Bull heads into the final round of the 2022 season 28 points down on Mercedes with a maximum of 44 on offer.
While mathematically still possible, Horner concedes success in that battle is an unlikely outcome.
“The constructors’ [championship] is a long shot,” he said.
“I think the DNF for Sergio [Perez] last week was brutal for that championship.
“Something would have to go significantly wrong for Mercedes not to pick up that championship.”
The Milton Keynes squad headed the constructors’ competition by 44 points following the Austrian Grand Prix (Round 9), having trailed by 29 points after Round 4.
Just two races ago the deficit between to Mercedes was just five points.
However, with the Anglo-German squad needing just 16 points to mathematically wrap up an eighth consecutive constructors’ crown, and having scored an average of 28 points a race this year, the odds are with Mercedes.
“Statistically, that’s a very strong advantage that we have,” observed team boss Toto Wolff.
“But you can see how quickly it goes,” he added.
“We were just five points ahead And then Checo [Sergio Perez] was involved in that crash and in Saudi [Arabia], no points, and suddenly that swings massively.
“So there can still can be events on Sunday where that could swing in the other direction.”
Red Bull has this season scored more than 29 points on 14 occasions, however, Mercedes has scored less than 16 on only three occasions, and one of those was the truncated Belgian ‘Grand Prix’.
While Horner is conscious that it’s a big ask, he’s also not willing to concede defeat just yet.
“It’s the last race, there’s so much should stake, and anything can happen,” he said.
“You can never go give up.
“We learned that back in 2010 when we came here fighting for our first world championship,” he added.
“Sebastian Vettel came here with an outside chance and came away with came away with the drivers’ trophy.
“It just demonstrates that if you never give up, you keep pushing, anything can happen.”
Friday’s running in Abu Dhabi painted a confusing picture, with neither Red Bull nor Mercedes showing their true pace.
Hamilton topped Free Practice 2, though his best lap came on an older set of soft compound tyres.
Verstappen, meanwhile, had limited low fuel running and on his best lap lost time in the final sector, suggesting there’s more to come from the Dutchman.
Sergio Perez also demonstrated encouraging pace, though Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was similarly rapid.
A final 60-minutes of practice follows at 21:00 AEDT tonight ahead of qualifying, which gets underway at midnight.