Horner: Red Bull’s F1 success in 2022 “hurt our opponents”

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Red Bull took its 17th win of the year on Sunday to close out the 2022 season in Abu Dhabi, capping off a dominant campaign that saw it clinch both titles for the first time since 2013.

Max Verstappen achieved a record 15 wins during the season, while Red Bull set a new record for the number of points scored by a team in a single year.

The team began 2022 struggling for reliability, losing both cars in the season opener in Bahrain and seeing Verstappen retire in Australia, all due to fuel system issues.

But after settling in and battling Ferrari for the first half of the year, the RB18 took a step forward to become the most dominant car on the grid, winning 11 of the last 12 races of the season.

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“When you win 17 grands prix and do what we did, you understand that it hurts our opponents,” Horner said after the race in Abu Dhabi.

“I’m sure they will be even more motivated to become challengers next year. They are [Mercedes and Ferrari] both teams of such high quality that nothing can be taken for granted in 2023.”

Race winner Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing with Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing team principal BEST IMAGE

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Photo by: James Moy

But Red Bull’s success this year has not been without controversy. The team was found to have exceeded the budget cap in 2021, resulting in a fine and an aerodynamic test penalty for next year, with some teams asking for tougher penalties.

Horner also had to manage some internal tensions after Verstappen refused to help teammate Sergio Perez in his bid to finish second in the championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month.

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When asked what lessons Red Bull can draw from this year and the controversies it has faced, Horner replied: “You are always learning and someone else will have a problem at some point.

“The higher you go, the sharper the blades. We experienced that a bit this year. And the quickest way to become unpopular in this paddock is to win consistently.

“We’re an energy drink subsidiary that races against OEMs and legacy brands. And of course that doesn’t sit well with some of our competitors.”

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