Horner: We have the number ‘1’ on our car

Michelle Foster
The front of the Red Bull RB18 as it's launched. February 2022.

A view of the Red Bull RB18 as it is unveiled to the world for the first time. February 2022.

Red Bull may have ended Mercedes’ reign last season but Christian Horner says they want another title to “reaffirm” themselves and show that 2021 wasn’t a one-off.

Max Verstappen won last year’s Drivers’ Championship, a late lap of the season overtake determining the outcome of what was a tension-fraught title fight.

The Dutchman declared almost immediately that he would run the number ‘1’ on his car, with Red Bull unveiling their 2022 car on Wednesday, the RB18 decked out with that ‘1’.

Verstappen’s championship title was Red Bull’s first since 2013, Mercedes then going on a seven-season run in which they secured both championships.

But while Red Bull were unable to pip the Brackley squad to the Constructors’, this year Formula 1 has all-new cars meaning it is anyone’s guess who’ll come out on top.

Horner hopes it is Red Bull.

“It has been a very intense season, one of the best in the history of Red Bull,” said the team boss.

“We have the number ‘1’ on our car and we want to reaffirm ourselves by winning another title.

“Competitiveness is high but we will try. You can always learn from previous experiences and that’s what we will do.

“Furthermore, the rules have changed and for this reason there will be new challenges to face.

“Everything has changed with the new rules of Formula 1, every single component is new, even as regards the design we have tried to simplify everything.”

Horner applauded his driver line up with Verstappen once again being partnered by Sergio Perez, the Mexican driver the first of his team-mates to have won a race since Daniel Ricciardo in 2018.

But while Perez wasn’t able to mount his own title challenge last year, only winning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, he supported Verstappen’s title quest most notably at the season-ending Abu Dhabi race.

“They grew throughout last year and you saw the culmination of that in the latter races, particularly in Abu Dhabi,” Horner said.

“Checo in his first year, winning that race in Azerbaijan, other podiums, he will be stronger and taking a step up I’m sure in 2022.

“And for Max, he was just phenomenal last year, an outstanding season for him. He dominated – the amount of laps led, 10 grand prix victories and of course the World Championship.

“His confidence will be sky high and looking to build on those performances in 2022.”

He continued: “The most important thing was we really worked strongly as a team and to see the two drivers working and supporting each other, to see the strength in depth we have in the team, the way they coped through the pandemic to continue to develop the car the way we did and to deal with the challenges we faced last year has really galvanised the team.”

The Briton says Red Bull go into the new season in “great shape and looking forward to the season ahead.


“It’s always exciting to go racing again – 2021 was such a massive year for us, but it’s been flat-out ever since with this new car and it’s always exciting at the start of a new season to see where we fare compared to our competitors.”