Christian Horner talks about the bodywork getting stuck under the car of Max Verstappen in F1 British GP which cost him chunk of time.
It was a hectic F1 British GP race which ebbed and flowed for multiple drivers including Red Bull’s Verstappen. He passed Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz initially but the red flag reset the grand prix and he couldn’t get through him on the re-start being on same compound.
But he pushed him on all-through and was in the lead until a bodywork damage which forced him to pit. He thought it was a puncture but it was revealed later on that there was something stuck on his car which resulted in loss of downforce.
Post-race, Horner revealed that it was a AlphaTauri debris which got stuck under the bottom of his car after he ran over it. That pretty much sealed his fate but he managed to get a seventh place result after fending off a late charge from Mick Schumacher.
“We didn’t have a puncture,” said Horner to media. “Okay. There was no puncture. He was reporting because it was so bad. It felt like a puncture. Basically on Lap 11 he hit a piece of debris which was an AlphaTauri part from an incident that they had. So he’s then done the race with a modified floor with a piece of an AlphaTauri endplate stuck under the bottom of the car.
“It stayed in there and got stuck and wedged itself almost like a blockage. So a fairly heavily modified floor for the rest of the race for him. And he’s obviously lost an enormous amount of downforce. On the medium tyre, Verstappen was going fine. I think he could see that he was quicker than certainly Carlos, and just not wanting to take too much out of the tyre too early. And worked his way up to the back of him, made the pass and then unfortunately, literally one later hit the debris.
“So, then Max reported a puncture, but we couldn’t see it on the data but then you have got to trust the driver. So, we fitted precautionary and then we saw that there was significant damage. In fact, Carlos I think said, who was following him, that bits were coming out from the bottom of Max’s car. On the medium tyre, he was obviously fighting as hard as he could. But suddenly your race becomes very focused on some of the cars that you’re racing against, which are more Alpines and Astons at that stage.
“So we then pitted for the hard tyre to get to the end of the race as we thought that was our best way of finishing P7 and he struggled I think particularly with a wounded car on the harder compound of tyre even more so when we got to the safety car, it was the question of we’ve got nothing to lose: we either finish out the points or put a set of softs on and see what we can do, and he actually manages to pass a couple of cars and then fought extremely hard to maintain that seventh place which was six valuable points,” summed up Horner while explaining Verstappen’s race.
When asked how much the debris cost him in terms of downforce, Horner noted it to be 20% at least. The team couldn’t spot the debris as it was under the car which made it difficult to understand what was causing it. But the Red Bull chief reckoned that seventh was the maximum he could have got seeing the pace of Alpine and McLaren.
“We could see there was a massive loss of downforce,” said Horner. “And then so of course, you’re then relying on trying to identify what’s causing it, and because it was underneath. There was nothing obvious. It wasn’t like half the floor was hanging off. So it was difficult to actually understand it initially, which is why Max reported a puncture but it’s actually a major update that had gone on.
“He would have lost pace. I think P7 was going to be the absolute optimum he could do today. He didn’t have the pace of Alonso or Norris with that car that was damaged. It’s massive the hit that he’s taken and actually his restart was impressive,” summed up Horner.
Talking about his own race, Verstappen discussed about the moment he may have ran over the debris while chasing Sainz. Post-race he had a quick look underneath the car and quickly spotted the piece of debris which he later shared to media.
“I didn’t ask yet how much I lost in terms of downforce, but I spoke to Carlos and he said ‘what happened you were losing part-arts while I was in the lead’,” said Verstappen. “When I jumped out of the car I had a look at the floor and underneath on the left hand side it is completely ruptured, everything is gone.
“Once I got into the lead and Carlos made a mistake a few corners later in Turn 5 there was a piece a carbon but by the time I was there I couldn’t move drastically left or right so I just tried to hit it head on but instead it just went into my floor and it destroyed everything. It felt like a puncture because suddenly I had no balance and the car was hopping a lot.
“So, we decided to box and even after that the car was just a handful to drive. Then the tough bit was to find a nice aero balance because of course massive loss of mainly rear load to try and help the front wing but when you do that you get overload so that wasn’t ideal on the hard tyre set so then for the last set we went up again but it was very tough. But at the end of the day, I think seventh place was a good result with the damage I had,” summed up Verstappen.
#F1 #BritishGP @Max33Verstappen during the debrief, showing the piece of @AlphaTauriF1 that got stuck underneath his car, which made him lose a lot of aero performance on one side of the car. Even with the issue, he managed to make the best of it and finished P7. #MsportXtra pic.twitter.com/aFR8CfDEGX
— #MsportXtra (@MsportXtra) July 5, 2022
Here’s Sergio Perez on late tussle
Here’s Max Verstappen pitting after issues: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2022-british-grand-prix-verstappen-pits-from-the-lead-due-to-bodywork-damage.1737347473640090902.html