Niki Lauda may have been a Mercedes man at the end but Red Bull also learned a lot from the triple World Champion, Christian Horner citing his “the days you lose are the days that you learn the most” mantra.
Lauda was an icon in Formula 1, not only for his three Drivers’ World Championships but also because he fought back from a near-death crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix to win title number two in 1977 with Ferrari.
After a two-year break from the sport, he came back to win his third title in 1984 with McLaren.
Christian Horner: You can never rest on your laurels
He would later join Mercedes as a non-executive director with the Austrian playing a key role in the signing of Lewis Hamilton back in 2013.
However, it wasn’t just Mercedes who benefitted from the triple World Champion’s teachings.
“Niki was a very wise guy and he was quite right,” Red Bull team boss Horner said.
“The days you lose, as long as you’re prepared to accept the lessons are the days that you learn the most.
“And I think that you’re always learning, the races that you win there are always things that you can do better.
“So even the analysis out of the race we were very strong on Saturday, our opponents were close to us on Sunday.
“So you can never rest on your laurels. You’ve got to keep looking forward. You’ve got to keep pushing, you’ve got to keep looking forward because for sure, everybody behind you is.
“You have to remember that since the summer break, we’ve really added very little performance, if anything, to the car.
“With the wind tunnel restrictions that we’ve had, we’ve elected to use that on RB20, next year’s car as opposed to continuing the development on RB19.
“And that’s not to say, whatever we do now, we don’t learn and apply for next year but we’ve managed to be consistent at a whole variance of circuits.”
Having won the double in 2022, Red Bull went even better this season as they bagged 21 of 22 Grands Prix wins, the double, and the 1-2 in the Drivers’ standings.
He went on to applaud Red Bull’s reigning World Champion Max Verstappen for embodying the principle with the Dutchman driven by his winning margins.
“He just wants to race, whether it’s racing GP cars or racing online, he’s hugely competitive, hugely hungry. He doesn’t want to leave anything on the table,” Horner added.
“Whether it’s a Sprint, a Grand Prix, [or] a qualifying session, the one thing that he certainly doesn’t lack is his motivation in any shape or form. It’s that inner desire that really drives him.
“You see it in his driving time and time again, and I think he’s now coupled that with experience. It doesn’t all have to be done on the first lap. His race in Austin was excellent.
“The way that he managed the tyres, the strategy, and the passes when he needed to make it was absolutely decisive.”