Red Bull have been left with a “sour taste” in their mouths over lost 2019 Formula 1 race wins as a result of Ferrari’s illegal engine, according to team boss Christian Horner.
Ferrari headed into the 2020 season as favourites after winning three of the last nine races in the previous season, but in reality the team has suffered a massive slump in performance and finds itself struggling in the midfield.
The reason for this has been pinpointed to a deal the team did with the FIA over the winter, in which Ferrari reached a private settlement and made changes to its engine, bringing it in line with the technical regulations.
Although given the privacy Ferrari has been afforded by the FIA, it’s widely accepted that Ferrari’s ’19 engine wasn’t legal and this has had not only a major impact on its own form, but that of its customers.
Horner, speaking after the Belgian Grand Prix where Ferrari were absolutely nowhere and finished 13th and 14th, he admitted it left a “sour taste” as he hinted at the legality of their car.
“The whole thing has left quite a sour taste,” replied Horner when asked if the situation was frustrating.
“I mean obviously you can draw your own conclusions from Ferrari’s current performance but, yeah, there are races that we should have won last year arguably if they had run with an engine that seems to be quite different to what performance that they had last year.”
Ferrari finished 87 points ahead of Red Bull to clinch second in the standings, and although Mercedes would likely have been out of reach, Red Bull would almost definitely have finished above Ferrari, which would have been worth tens of millions in prize money.
Horner added that Ferrari, which last year was the power unit of choice, has now dropped to the back of the pecking order.
“It’s obviously very tough for them but I think their focus has obviously been in the wrong areas in previous years, which is why they’re obviously struggling a little with whatever was in that agreement.
“I think you’ve got Mercedes as a clear leader, then I think Honda and Renault are reasonably close depending on circuits and conditions. And then you’ve got Ferrari obviously at the back of the queue.”