Red Bull’s weight-saving developments with the RB19 car were the main factor in the team’s dominance of the F1 2023 season, according to Christian Horner.
Max Verstappen’s spectacular dominance over the 2023 Formula 1 season was sparked by a 20-kilogram reduction in weight on the all-conquering RB19, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
With Verstappen winning 19 of the 22 Grands Prix in the car, Red Bull achieved a record-breaking year in which the team won both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles.
Red Bull began the 2022 season with an overweight chassis as the team had committed significant resources to the 2021 car, after Verstappen’s epic 2021 duel with Lewis Hamilton had jeopardized the RB18’s development.
Although there were strong rumors that the team was working on a lightweight car for the latter part of the 2022 Formula 1 season, Verstappen easily overpowered his rivals and therefore the B-spec chassis was never seen.
Horner, however, acknowledged that Red Bull gave weight loss a lot of attention for 2023, stating the car weighed 20 kg less this year.
“What you have to remember is that with the RB19, there were a large number of components that came from the RB18: gearbox, a large percentage of the suspension, and half of the chassis,” Horner told Motorsport.com.
“It was effectively a cut-and-shut for this year. The most significant thing that we were able to address was the weight.
“We were so late going on to the new regs in 2021, because of that Championship battle, that the car in 2022 was a bit on the chunky side. So we managed to get 20 kilos out of the car coming into this year and tidy up some of the imperfections.
“But there were a great many carryover parts and some of the components have actually won, in Max’s case, 19 races this year and 15 last year, so the combination of the two: 34 races.”
As to where the team made the weight savings, Horner replied: “It was a little bit everywhere. It was not one specific area that you could take the weight off. It was just marginal gains in all areas.
“I think that was probably the fundamental difference between the 2022 car and the 2023 car.”
Horner also confirmed that the RB18 was 20 kg over the weight limit in 2022 as teams tried to stay ahead of the freshly introduced ground-effect regulations that season.
“Yeah, we were carrying that deficit for a large percentage of the year,” he said.
Red Bull’s nearly flawless record was marred by an error at the Singapore Grand Prix, as neither Verstappen nor teammate Sergio Perez were able to get the car properly set up for the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Verstappen’s performance turned out to be lacking as he was unable to advance beyond Q2. Liam Lawson and AlphaTauri edged the Dutch driver for a spot in the top 10, while Perez began the race in 13th place.
Despite the fact that the two placed fifth and eighth in the race, respectively, Verstappen’s historic run of ten consecutive race victories came to a stop after the setback.
“That race just brings everything into reality,” Horner reflected on the lack of performance that weekend. “Quite often we made winning look easy this year.
“Winning is never easy, and that race just brought it home that if you miss the target, it’s small margins.
“We arrived with a setup, led down a route by our simulation tools, and it just didn’t work on that circuit on that day, particularly in qualifying.
“In the race, the pace started to come back to us. If we’d known what we knew after the event going into it, we would have been in a much more competitive position.”