Christian Horner believes that Red Bull cannot win every race in the 2023 Formula 1 season as there are too many variables at play.
Horner drew particular attention to factors such as weather, strategy and reliability as potential barriers to an unprecedented clean-sweep of every race.
“I think that’s a massively tall order,” Horner told the Financial Times. “You’ve got 23 events at circuits, there’s going to be weather that turns up, you know, probably reliability, strategy and an element of luck.
“I think to win 23 races, it’s unimaginable. I’m sitting here after five races and we’ve won the first five and that’s by far the best start we’ve ever had to a Grand Prix season.
“So we just want to keep that rolling, as long as we can take one race at a time and not think about trying to win 23 races.”
Red Bull reliability
The Milton Keynes-based team have had a few scares with reliability as Max Verstappen endured gearbox problems in qualifying at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix causing the Dutchman to start from P15, and the problem threatened to happen again in the race.
In Australia, Perez reported brake problems throughout the weekend and this appeared to recur in qualifying as he found himself stuck in the gravel and limited to a pitlane start.
If any of these problems should show up in the Sunday race, when there are no second chances, then this can open the door for a surprise win.
Red Bull have proven indomitable in the dry conditions but we are yet to see a wet qualifying or race in 2023, which could change at Imola.
Whilst one would expect Red Bull‘s pace advantage to carry over into wet conditions, an example of this not happening could be the Turkish GP in 2020.
Lewis Hamilton went on to win that particular race, and sealed his seventh world title, but for large parts of the weekend, the W11 proved to be difficult, often sliding and struggling for grip in Istanbul.
Hamilton‘s then-teammate, Valterri Bottas, spun six times during the race and finished in P14 showing that there are moments when the pace advantage can vanish and open a window of opportunity for the others.
Upgrades from F1 rivals
Mercedes are poised to bring massive reworks of their car at Imola, particularly to the front-end of the W14 and the seating position, which has been a problem for Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes hope that the upgrades place them firmly as second best, but Toto Wolff has constantly said that Red Bull are a step too far at the moment.
Ferrari has already introduced upgrades to their car in Azerbaijan and also introduced a new floor in Miami. Whilst the team struggled for race pace in Miami, it is believed this was related to the tyres rather than the upgrade.
Horner also alluded to upgrades and is well aware of the potential gains that Mercedes and Ferrari are capable of producing.
“We’re not heading back to the European season and, if you believe Mercedes, they have a completely new car coming,” Horner said.
“For Ferrari, you have upgrades coming in and the competition will start to come through and I think that it’s still early days. I mean it’s very easy to get carried away by what’s going on here.”