As rivals scrambled to bring upgrades that would hopefully close the gap to Red Bull, Christian Horner says the biggest change they made to the RB19 was the “livery”.
Red Bull head into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi with both championship titles in the bag, as well as numerous Formula 1 records.
From the most wins in a season to breaking McLaren’s record for the most consecutive wins, Red Bull have also scored more points than any team in F1 history in a single campaign.
‘Livery changes’ have been Red Bull’s biggest upgrades
And according to Horner, they’ve done all that without bringing a significant upgrade to the track since the summer break.
“I mean, the biggest changes we’ve had have been livery changes,” he said with a grin in Abu Dhabi.
The Briton puts Red Bull’s success down to consistency while the ever-changing pecking order amongst their rivals has also meant no one team has launched a sustained challenge.
“Of course, at different times during the season, we’ve had different competitors giving us a hard time, whether it was Aston Martin that started the season very strongly,” he said.
“I mean, if you think back to Monaco that just came down to qualy. That was just one lap in qualy that determined that race.
“And then more recently, McLaren have really brought us a firm challenge at some very recent races, we’ve had Ferrari up there as well and Mercedes occasionally as well. So, it’s been varying who the competitor has been.
“I think, where we’ve been particularly strong is we’ve just managed to achieve that level of consistency across many different circuits, conditions, and circumstances.”
From ‘party team’ to serious contenders
Joining Red Bull back in 2005, Horner is the longest-serving team boss on the grid with the Briton at the helm for seven World titles and six Constructors’ Championships.
Red Bull first lifted the trophies in 2010 with Sebastian Vettel in what was the start of a four-year run with Max Verstappen regaining the Drivers’ title in 2021 before Red Bull added the double the following season.
This year they’ve again secured the double in what rivals fear is just the beginning of the Red Bull era.
“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,” Horner said.
“And I think 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, and we built the team up, and by 2009, we started winning.
“2010, we then started winning championships, and 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.
“That was a challenging period but what I was immensely proud of is that the whole team, the core team, really stuck together during that period.
“And 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 you have a clear target, and you believe in the people around you, and work collectively as a team, then anything is achievable.”