F1 design legend claims Red Bull have ‘excellent chance’ of beating all-time record

Thomas Maher
Red Bull RB19 and McLaren MP4/4,

Red Bull RB19 and McLaren MP4/4,

The designer of F1’s most dominant car, Gordon Murray, believes his 35-year-old record could be beaten by Red Bull this season.

McLaren hold the record for the most dominant F1 car in terms of percentages, with their 1988 MP4/4 having won 15 of the 16 races held that season – only a collision between Ayrton Senna and Jean-Louis Schlesser at Monza prevented a completely clean sweep of the entire calendar. Their win percentage was 93.75%.

While there have been a few dominant cars in the years since, such as Mercedes achieving a 90.47% win ratio in 2016 and Ferrari managing 88% of the calendar in 2002, Red Bull’s 2023 season is currently at 100%.

Gordon Murray ‘watching with interest’ to see if Red Bull topple record

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have clinched victory at every single race held in 2023, with Verstappen claiming six of the eight wins – Perez clinching the remaining two. Having weathered the unique challenge of Monaco recently, even Verstappen has admitted that the possibility of winning every race is now on the table for Red Bull.

For Gordon Murray, designer of the 1988 McLaren, seeing his 35-year-standing record beaten this year is a distinct possibility thanks to Red Bull’s excellence.

“Red Bull is a very well-run and disciplined team with a great understanding of aerodynamics,” he said in an interview with the UK’s Times.

“Having a stable and long-standing management and engineering team is an extremely important factor in the quest for F1 success.

“Recently, I expected Mercedes to beat my 1988 Grand Prix win record but they never quite managed it. Red Bull have an excellent chance of beating it this year — they must win all but one race to achieve this and I will be watching with interest.”

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Under the current regulations, which are far more prescribed than the formulas under which Murray operated during his Formula 1 tenure, there’s unlikely to be a major design innovation introduced by any of the teams which will fundamentally alter the pecking order to challenge Red Bull.

Instead, Murray believes operational and technical excellence across the board is a prerequisite for success rather than a team stumbling across a wild idea that could transform their fortunes.

“With the current regulations, the cars are all very similar from a design concept point of view so it’s almost impossible to deliver a standout, innovative design element,” he said.

“A ‘great’ F1 car is a car which in its concept incorporates a big step forward in the evolution of Grand Prix cars and powertrains or has a radical feature which results in race-winning performance. Current Grand Prix cars deliver a competitive advantage through a collection of small detail design features.

“I was fortunate to be designing grand prix cars in the Seventies and the Eighties, where a ‘not bad’ idea could be turned into a race-winning concept between grand prix races. With the current regulations, this is all but impossible.”