Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner talks about the filming day they had as he dwells on how 2020 F1 season will shape-up plus strange situations pre and post race.
Red Bull surprised everyone with a filming day at Silverstone with Alexander Albon as it became the first among the top F1 teams to run the 2020 car ahead of the season start in Austria. The idea was majorly to get through the new safety protocol.
Horner stated that they went with Albon because he was already in the United Kingdom and it made no sense for Max Verstappen to travel as due to engine change, Red Bull couldn’t run the 2018 F1 car to undertake a full assessment.
It also gave Albon extra track time albeit on demonstration tyres and just 100 km but Red Bull did run different floors to collect as much data as possible without going against the set F1 guidelines. Horner termed the run as a ‘significant moment’.
He added that the run showed the resilience of his team and the partners in tough times, especially with things like Project Pitlane. But a big check awaits everyone next weekend when things kicks-off eventually at Red Bull Ring.
“One of the things I am most excited about at the Red Bull Ring is seeing the start of Sunday’s race,” wrote Horner. “Fortunately, both our drivers have done recent track days at different venues to get them up to speed.
The filming day at Silverstone also allowed us to run for 100km in our 2020 F1 car, so we made good use of that with Alex and the race team, all of whom were tested prior to attending the track. And it was certainly interesting trying to get used to a one way system in the garage, following arrows on the floor, which is totally alien to everyone.
“Operationally, we have also completed some virtual races with the pitwall so by the time we get to Austria we will be fully prepared. That said, some drivers will be rusty, and that could make for an exciting start to the race because there will inevitably be some mistakes.
“As a Team there are also many changes. We will all be tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving the UK and again every five days, we will also be operating in team bubbles and unable to interact with other team bubbles, even those within the paddock who have also been tested.
“There are many operational procedures that have taken a monumental effort from all involved within the Team to update, and sacrifices have also been made by those travelling personnel as they will be heavily restricted when in other countries.
“The strangest thing will be either going to the grid or the post-race procedure. What do you do? Tap elbows with someone afterwards if you have a good result? There is always a lot of emotion when you are at the end of a Grand Prix, especially if you are lucky enough to get a result, so that is going to test discipline to the full,” summed up Horner.
Talking about performance, Horner put Mercedes ahead certainly. He added that Max Verstappen is raring to go and make it three in a row at Red Bull Ring. Both Alex and Max are raring to get going but for the latter it is a chance for him to achieve his third straight win in Austria,” he wrote.
“Max took two brilliant wins in 2018 and 2019 and is looking in good shape for the start of this season. He has been working hard on his endurance training and is possibly in even better condition than he was when we first went into the lockdown. Max lives for racing and is capable of beating anyone to the title, providing we give him the tools to do it.
“But let’s not forget, Mercedes go in to this season as the clear favourites, they are six-time world champions, but we feel as though we are in a very good place and go into the season with the mindset to challenge what has become the status quo,” noted Horner.
Here’s how filming day went for Red Bull
Here’s AlphaTauri at Imola
Here’s Alexander Albon on lockdown, Virtual GP
Here’s Christian Horner on Sebastian Vettel
Here’s Ferrari detailing on F1 2020 changes plus photos from Red Bull Ring