Promising a lightweight chassis last season but unable to deliver because of the budget cap, Ted Kravitz says the “secret” to this year’s RB19 is that it is based on that chassis.
Last season, racing an overweight but still race-winning RB18, Red Bull were so determined to shave off kilograms it was reported they’d designed a lighter chassis.
That, though, never hit the track.
Was the RB19 born from the never-raced lightweight RB18 chassis?
According to the Italian branch of Motorsport.com, the lighter chassis existed and was some 4kg down with Red Bull said to have carried out a crash test at the Cranfield Impact Center before the summer break. That was needed to apply for the standard FIA homologation.
As Ferrari spoke of their “surprise” that any team had the leeway to create a different chassis so late in the championship given Formula 1 operates under a budget cap, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner refuted the rumours.
“We’re not going to use any special lightweight chassis,” said the Briton. “I don’t know where that comes from.”
But if, and Sky’s pit lane reporter Kravitz does ask the question “was”, the lightweight chassis did exist, was it the basis for Red Bull’s dominant RB19?
“As far as a competitive proposition for the World Championship between two drivers, this is not exactly been Formula 1’s greatest season. That’s understating it somewhat,” Kravitz said as he reviewed Verstappen and Red Bull’s championship-winning season.
“You can only marvel at the accomplishment, can’t you? Of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing.
“So you know secrets can now be told, can they not?
“Was this car, this RB19, not based on the lightweight chassis that never raced at the end of 2022?
“Remember they started 2022 with a heavy car. And Max was talking about ‘Oh we’ve got to have a lightweight chassis coming for Singapore’. But it never came.
“But this was never denied by the team that the RB19 was based on that lightweight chassis. So the weight was taken out of the car.
“So the story can now be told that they took the weight out of the car.”
According to reports, for 2023 the RB19 is operating at close to the 798kg limit.
Kravitz hands out credit were it is due
But it’s not just the Adrian Newey-designed RB19 or Verstappen that deserve credit for Red Bull’s success, Kravitz highlighting Honda’s part.
Although Red Bull ran a Red Bull Powertrains engine it is actually a Honda power unit, born from the Japanese manufacturer and with very little altered given the sport’s power unit freeze.
The RB19 won 21 of 22 Grands Prix, the team strung together a 14-race winning streak from Bahrain to Italy, 15 if one includes Abu Dhabi 2022, and wrapped up their first-ever 1-2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
Verstappen won the title with 575 points, enough to secure P1 in the Constructors’ Championship as Mercedes only scored 409 points.
“Credit to Honda,” proclaimed Kravitz. “That engine power unit has been flawless. They’ve been amazing. Haven’t they been amazing? I don’t think Honda get enough credit.
“I don’t think Honda get enough credit because they’ve won 21 races. And they don’t get credit.”