Christian Horner says there is no consideration of team orders at Red Bull, despite the ongoing Mercedes reliability problems keeping Daniel Ricciardo within striking distance of the main title contenders.
In Singapore Ricciardo finished right behind team mate Sebastian Vettel, and he would have gained three points had they been swapped. Given that the German still has a mathematical chance – albeit a remote one – the team let them race.
“They’ve both mathematically got a chance, but it’s a long shot,” said Horner. “It’s down to them racing each other on the track. It would be wrong to interfere with that in the situation we’re in, so we let them race, as you saw. Dan knew before the race, not just before the race, but some time ago, so he’s totally comfortable and happy with that.
“If there was a realistic chance of Daniel winning, and Sebastian was mathematically out of the championship, then of course we’ll do the best that we can for the team. The situation that we’re in at the moment, it’s a long shot. They’ve got an enormous advantage at this point. We’ll take it one race at a time.
“Both of them are still just in this championship, and both of them have taken a chunk of points out of Nico. Okay, Daniel’s conceded three points to Seb, but is that going to make a difference? It’s impossible to say at this stage, but at the moment it doesn’t make sense to interfere with team orders.”
Singapore was only the second time, after Germany, that Vettel has finished ahead of Ricciardo. Horner agreed that it was a boost for the World Champion.
“I think it’s great for Seb to have had a solid weekend,” he said when asked by this writer. “It’s good for him to be back on the podium. He’s been quick all weekend, he’s had good tyre degradation, so a lot of positives out of the weekend.”
Regarding the prospect of catching Mercedes he said: “On this type of circuit we can get close to them, but the reality is the horsepower difference that we have is still a big factor. So whilst we’ve closed the gap here, some of the other tracks coming up, Abu Dhabi and maybe Sochi, it’s going to extend again. So the key for us is the work we do over the winter, and how we come out of the starting blocks next year in terms of really closing that gap.”