Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says having both of his drivers face off for the 2023 Drivers’ Championship is a “luxury problem” for the squad.
The Milton Keynes-based outfit has enjoyed a dream start to the current campaign, winning the opening five races this year.
Max Verstappen currently leads Sergio Perez in the standings having taken three victories, with the other two going the way of Perez.
With no other team offering a challenge to Red Bull so far, Perez is being treated as Verstappen’s biggest rival to stop the Dutchman’s charge of a third consecutive Formula 1 title.
The last time two drivers within the same team battled for the championship occurred in 2016, when Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to the title.
Mercedes’ Toto Wolff says that Horner will have a difficult job on his hands to keep both of his drivers happy during the year.
“I can tell you from my past, it’s a super tricky job for Christian and the team,” Wolff said.
“Because both drivers will obviously try to always feel that they’re fairly and equally treated, whilst at the same time, trying to have an advantage.
“And I think in our team, it was important to maintain a lot of transparency and clarity, discuss things before we actually go racing on a Sunday. Put boundaries.
“And, at the end, both drivers, even with Nico and Lewis, respected the team’s opinion, whilst we acknowledge that they have a fight between the two of them.
“So going back in time, there’s things I probably would have done differently in 2016, particularly, but the balance right between accepting these two guys are racing for a championship, and it’s within the same garage.
“And at the same time, they are part of a larger structure. I think that is not always easy, because they are very competitive animals.”
However, Horner says that as long as the team doesn’t favour one driver over the other through strategic decisions, it doesn’t expect to have a problem.
“We just do everything Toto says but just a bit better!” Horner joked. “No, look, I think that it’s a luxury problem, first of all.
“I think any Team Principal in the pit lane would hope to have that issue. And it’s something we’ve experienced before.
“And I think the most key thing is, as Toto was mentioning, is to ensure that paranoia doesn’t creep in and that both drivers are treated equally.
“You go to pains to provide equality, to the point of who drives out the garage first each weekend, you know, it alternates. It even alternates in the debrief who talks first.
“But you know, it’s racing is Formula 1, and occasionally something will happen like a Safety Car or a pit stop and you can’t control every aspect within the sport. There are still variables.
“And I think so long as the drivers know that they’re both getting an equal chance and it’s ultimately down to what they do on the circuit, that’s where you want it to play out, not through reliability, for example, to play a key role in a championship fight between your two drivers within your own team.”