Red Bull’s Harry Potter warning to rivals in F1’s development war

Michelle Foster
Red Bull's new-look sidepod inlets. Hungary July 2023

Red Bull's new-look sidepod inlets for the RB19. Hungary July 2023

Red Bull’s RB19 has been in a class of its own this season, but that doesn’t mean the championship leaders are calling time on their development.

Red Bull arrived on the 2023 grid with a fast car, the fastest, some claim, that they’ve ever seen, with Max Verstappen taking the opening win by 12s ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez with third-placed Fernando Alonso a further 26s down.

Little did the team, or their rivals, know at the time that it was the start of something incredible, incredibly dominant that is.

Red Bull not yet done with 2023’s upgrade programme

Red Bull will return from F1’s summer break looking to continue their season’s whitewash having won 12 from 12 while Verstappen is chasing his ninth win on the trot as he romps toward a third World title.

38s ahead of the nearest non-Red Bull car in Bahrain, there have been few signs of Red Bull’s rivals closing the gap with Verstappen still over 30s ahead 12 races later in Belgium.

And the team isn’t yet done with their upgrade plan for the RB19, says chief engineer Paul Monaghan.

Speaking to media, including, the 55-year-old said: “I think we’ll have to see how the coming races pan out and see what our opposition do, [but] there will be other changes to the RB19 through the season.

“The size and scale of the aerodynamic upgrade does not necessarily match the visual impact of it, there are other areas of the car we can change that are less visible, that could similarly earn a reasonable gain.

“But yeah there will be other changes to the RB19 through the year.

“I think we’ve had to be prepared to react, but I’m not going to say now that we will or won’t.

“The end goal is the two championships and our most efficient way to navigate is what we will see and everybody else wants to do well on that pathway, so it’s not solely in our control.

“We will do what we will do.” recommends

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Red Bull brought their second big upgrade of this season to the Hungarian Grand Prix where they introduced a full letterbox-shaped cooling inlet, which created space for an even more aggressive sidepod undercut to their previous configuration.

Monaghan reiterated that Red Bull will stay the course.

“It’s not as if you can suddenly say ‘Oh, I need some more downforce’ or ‘I need a more efficient car’ – it’s not something you can sort of pull out of Gringotts or something,” he added.

“We’ll stay on our pathway. If we need to react this year, then there may be scope to do so. But at the moment, we’ve got a pathway and we’re going to follow it.”

Red Bull are leading the Constructors’ Championship by 256 points ahead of Mercedes with Verstappen 125 ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ standings.

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