Red Bull boss Christian Horner is not ruling out the possibility of Mercedes intentionally changing engines with the title so close to the line.
Mercedes and Red Bull are doing everything they can to ensure the championship lands in their camp. With the dwindling number of races, the stakes are getting higher for both sides.
Thus, to facilitate Hamilton his eighth championship, Christian Horner is not ruling out the possibility of Mercedes doing this deliberately.
This allegation stems from Mercedes’ decision to give Valtteri Bottas his sixth engine of the year, three more than the allocated limit. So, it’s being speculated that Mercedes is preparing a fresher pool of engines for a performance boost ahead of the final races.
“I think they’re obviously weighing up that risk versus reward,” Horner told media. “So, it’s very unusual for Mercedes that have been. Obviously, so far the benchmark in reliability the last six or seven years. So it’s unusual that they’re in this situation.”
Back at the forefront feels Christian Horner
With the new engine grid penalty, Bottas will be starting five places behind his qualifying result. Thus, allowing Red Bull to attack Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit of the Americas. So, Horner feels that this is a good advantage in the championship battle.
“We’re hoping to get through the end of the year on what we have, that’s our assumption,” he said. “But situations can change quite quickly, as you can see. So you can never say never, but we feel that by taking a penalty, it’s put us back into a reasonable position.”
Moreover, after Mercedes’ recent engine change, the unreliability issue has once again been highlighted. Horner believes this is because of the staunchest challenge Mercedes has faced in the turbo-hybrid era.
“I think we are pushing them hard this year. I mean we’ve really thrown everything at them this season,” Horner said. “At pretty much every race, we’ve managed to give them a hard time.”
“So, when you consider how dominant they’ve been the last seven years and this car is largely a carryover of last year’s car which was arguably their most dominant car.”
“It’s testimony to the team that we’ve got ourselves into this position to be challenging them with six races to go,” he added.