Christian Horner has paid tribute to his Red Bull team following a record-breaking 2023 Formula 1 season, led by three-time world champion Max Verstappen.
Despite having their wind tunnel time restricted because of a cost cap breach in 2022, Red Bull have enjoyed an outstanding season, winning 21 races and securing their sixth constructors championship.
Verstappen took 90 percent of Red Bull’s wins in 2023, helping him secure his third consecutive world championship title at October’s Qatar Grand Prix, becoming only the fifth driver to achieve this rare feat.
Sergio Perez’s two wins at the Saudi Arabian and Azerbaijan GP helped him secure runners-up honours and Red Bull’s first 1-2 finish in the drivers’ standings.
“I’m quite glad to get to the finish line this one seems to have been a marathon of a year but an incredible year, a magical year for us,” reflected Horner to the press
“To be sitting here, having only lost one race, first and second in the drivers championship, Max, winning 18 (19) of those races, breaking records of consecutive wins of Sebastian’s breaking McLaren‘s record from 1988 for consecutive Grand Prix victories in the season as well.
“It truly has been the most remarkable year, and it’s testimony to all the men and women behind the scenes in the factory, it’s not just what you see here trackside it’s what goes on behind the scenes in the factory and of course, you know, reliability has played a key role in that, and I have to pay compliment to our partner Honda for producing us a reliable engine.
“Of course, operationally, strategically, we’ve been on top of our game this year, and the drivers have been brilliant. For Max, I think it’s been a sensational year for him, so difficult to come up with superlatives that are big enough to do the season justice.”
Drinking in success after title drought
After winning four consecutive driver and constructors’ championships with Sebastian Vettel between 2010 and 2013, Red Bull lost both to Mercedes in 2014, kickstarting a bitter divorce between the team and engine supplier with Renault.
It wasn’t until 2019, when Honda became Red Bull’s engine supplier, that fortunes changed, with Verstappen winning three times and twice in 2020 before dramatically securing his first world championship in 2021.
Since F1’s current regulations were introduced in 2022, Red Bull has won over 80% of races, with Verstappen taking victory 34 of those victories, putting him third on F1’s all-time winners list.
“Well, I think the lesson in life and in this business is you have to celebrate every success because you don’t know when the next one is going to come,” explained a thoughtful Horner.
“We came into the sport just under 20 years ago and were perceived as the party team as not, perhaps taking life as seriously as some of our counterparts, and we built the team up, and by 2009, we started winning in 2010, we then started winning championships and that that period was a golden period with Sebastian Vettel.
“But then a big regulation change and circumstances beyond our control deprived us of being able to be competitive, and that was a challenging period, but what [I am] immensely proud of is that the whole team, the core team, really stuck together during that period.
“Once we got a power unit that brought us into a position to be able to compete again, we made real use of that and, so there were times during that seven-year drought that it felt unachievable to get back to the winning days of 2010 to 13.
“But I think it just shows if, if you have a clear target and you believe in the people around you and work collectively as a team, then anything is achievable.”