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Horner at Red Bull

Red Bull’s dominance isn’t guaranteed for 2024, says Horner

2023 was a record-breaking season for Red Bull and Max Verstappen with the RB19 being the most dominant car on the grid

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Christian Horner has shared his thoughts on 2024, saying that it isn’t guaranteed Red Bull will continue to dominate. 

Red Bull and Mercedes - Hamilton and Verstappen
Race winner Max Verstappen and Second placed Lewis Hamilton celebrate on the podium after the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

This past season in Formula One has been one of the most dominant seasons with Red Bull winning all but one race. The Milton-Keynes outfit have won three Drivers’ Championships back-to-back with Max Verstappen since 2021, and Red Bull have won two consecutive Constructors’ Championships.

And this year alone, Red Bull broke McLaren’s record for winning the highest percentage of races in single season. In 1988, McLaren won 15 out of the 16 Grands Prix that year, making it a 93.8 winning percentage. In 2023, Red Bull have won 21 out of the 22 races, having a winning percentage of 95.65%.

Verstappen, himself, has had a record-breaking season as well. The Dutchman broke nine records alone, including: Most wins in a season (19); Most podiums in a season (21); Biggest winning margin (290 points); and most hat-tricks of pole position, a race win and the fastest lap (6).

However, despite Red Bull’s dominance, Team Principal Christian Horner has warned that there is no guarantee 2024 will see the same level of performance as this season.

Horner admits dominance may not continue

Horner has likened Red Bull’s dominance in 2023 to that of Mercedes in 2020. Three years ago, the Silver Arrows won all but four of the 17 Grands Prix. Lewis Hamilton, much like Verstappen this year, won the majority; the seven-time world champion took 11 victories in 2020.

The following year, however, Mercedes didn’t dominate as much. In 2021, Red Bull were able to battle at the front and Hamilton and Verstappen were level on points ahead of the season finale. As reported by Motorsport.com, Horner related this to Red Bull’s current dominance saying:

“We saw that in 2020 with Mercedes. If you remember, that was their most dominant year ever and yet, we were able to beat them in ’21.

“There is a subtle rule change but I think that nothing stands still. We’ve seen competitors coming closer at different venues and I’m sure concepts will converge. Stable regulations always concertina.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to repeat the season that we’ve had, but hopefully, we can take the lessons from RB19 and apply them to RB20 and come up with a car that we can defend these titles with.”

As 2023 progressed, other teams did develop and some closed the gap to Red Bull slightly. However, no other team has been as consistent in performance as Red Bull. Commenting on this, Horner believes the inconsistency of others contributed to the big disparity of points as Red Bull won the championship by 451 points.

“It’s been different people at different times. It’s swung around from McLaren having a surge, Ferrari having a surge, Mercedes turning up at one point. So, it’s move around from venue to venue.”

A humbling experience for Red Bull

Horner also spoke about Ferrari’s win in Singapore. Carlos Sainz played a tactical game during the Singapore Grand Prix as he kept Lando Norris in P2 within DRS to prevent the Mercedes drivers from overtaking and battling for the lead. In that race, Verstappen finished in P5 with Sergio Perez in P8.

Red Bull absent from Podium
Carlos Sainz and Fred Vasseur of Ferrari, Lando Norris of McLaren and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the Singapore Grand Prix 2023. (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Red Bull’s Team Principal was asked about Ferrari’s victory and he admitted that it was a humbling experience. Horner said:

“It leaves you humbled that there is still something to strive for and it’s a useful lesson that things can change quickly. Singapore was a standout weekend. You guys have been asking me since about race three, ‘Do you think you can win all the races this year?’.

“To win 21 out of the 22 races is insanity. For Max to have led over 1000 laps, for him to have won 19 races, to have broken McLaren’s record from ’88, to have broken Seb’s records from 2013 – the win ratios, all the percentages that he’s hit…

“This car will go down in history certainly for a considerable period of time as the most successful car in Formula 1 history.”

The 2023 season is complete and Red Bull did dominate all the way through. But now it’s time to focus on 2024 and with less than 100 days until the first Grand Prix, only time will tell whether or not Red Bull’s dominance will continue next season.

Headline image: GettyImages

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