Formula One Team Champions Red Bull admitted that it took them too long to become comfortable with the changes in the sport at the start of the 2012 season and is looking at ways to ensure it makes a stronger start in 2013.
After Red Bull dominated racing in 2011, the team won their first race at the fourth leg of the championship in 2012 – in Bahrain.
Eventual winner Sebastian Vettel – now a three-time champion – was down to sixth on the points table at one stage and only won his second race of the season in late September.
But the German then went on a four-race winning streak that in the end, proved the difference between him and championship runner-up Fernando Alonso. Before those four race wins, Alonso looked set to win his third title and even the McLaren looked like a stronger car than the Red Bull.
Now team boss Christian Horner admitted that it took chief designer Adrian Newey a while to get his head around the 2012 rule tweaks and to understand the idiosyncrasies of the new Pirelli tyres.
“There was a big regulation change where the exhaust effect was reduced dramatically, and that particularly had a significant impact on our car because arguably our use of exhaust gases was more advanced than other teams,” Horner said.
“So it took a while to understand that, and that combined with a different tyre took Adrian and his team time to get his head around.
“But they relentlessly stuck at it and the performance came.”
Despite trailing McLaren 5-3 in the race-win stakes before Vettel’s dominant September/October run, Horner believes the RBR car was better than its position on the table suggested.
“Even when we weren’t winning we were able to be securing sensible points,” he added.
“We should have won in Valencia, that was probably our biggest frustration of the year.
“The points we gave away not only the 25 points we should have had for the win but also the points it gifted Fernando.
“There were some challenges but getting that performance from the car and particularly for the last third of the championship was crucial.”