When the teams will present their cars for the 2023 Formula 1 season in February, British former racing driver and current Team Principal Christian Horner believes more cars will have a design similar to that of Red Bull or Ferrari and more teams will try to copy solutions seen on the F1-75 and RB18.
There was a lot of excitement and high expectations ahead of the 2022 F1 championships given the fact that the new rules and regulations came into force, with the goal of offering fans closer racing, more on track action and threatening to lead to a different order in Formula 1, after many years of Mercedes dominance.
However, Red Bull ended up easily winning the 2022 titles, thanks to 17 race victories of the 22 grand prix that took place last year. Scuderia Ferrari seemed able to get involved in the fight for the title after several years spent fighting for less ambitious targets, as Charles Leclerc won the opening round of the season, in Bahrain, followed by his Maranello teammate Carlos Sainz. The Monegasque driver also secured the race victory in round 3, the Australian Grand Prix, but from that point on it all went downhill, with the Italian side taking just two more wins for the rest of the year and even risking to lose second place in the Constructors’ standings to Mercedes.
In the first part of the 2022 Formula 1 campaign, Scuderia Ferrari’s F1-75 single-seater was the fastest on the grid for most of the races, but the Maranello team did not fully capitalize on its speed due to poor strategic calls and power unit technical failures, before Red Bull developed their RB18 car and turned it into the dominant race challenger.
While most of the teams had to return to the drawing board for their new cars, Red Bull boss Christian Horner feels their opponents will try to take inspiration from the RB18 and F1-75, now that they have seen what solutions work best on track. As for Red Bull, they will have to deal with some different issues this year: the Austrian side will have the least amount of wind tunnel time available from all the teams, because of their performance in the 2022 Formula 1 season, but also due to a penalty for exceeding the spending limit in 2021, with the FIA imposing an additional reduction of wind tunnel time.
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“It’s tough because it is a handicap,” Christian Horner said in an interview for Channel 4 when asked about Red Bull’s upcoming development limitations for the following season – “But I think what you’ll see in ’23 is that the cars do converge, and I’m sure there’s a few more cars that will look a bit like a Red Bull or a Ferrari. I think having got this number one on the car, having regained the Constructors’ World Championship is a huge motivation to maintain at that level.” – the Red Bull team principal added.
Looking back at the 2021 championship, Red Bull and Mercedes were the teams fighting for the title until the final lap of the last race of the season, a duel that seems to have affected Mercedes more than Red Bull. As a result, Christian Horner pointed out that it was beyond Red Bull’s “wildest imaginations” win both 2022 championships in such a dominant way:
“To be honest, I think it was beyond our wildest imaginations,” said Christian Horner about their performance – “With ’21 being such an intense year, Adrian [Newey’s] focus had really been on ’21 and the team beneath him had to do the groundwork on the 2022 car, so it felt like we were going to come into the season on the back foot.” – he concluded.