F1i Team Report Card for 2023: Red Bull

Concluding our review of how all ten F1 teams fared in 2023, with a look at Red Bull and drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Verstappen's extraordinary, record-breaking domination

(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing at a team photograph. 26.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

The team picture

  • Constructors standing: P1, 860 points

If this really was school report card, then you would have to introduce a new grade to cope with just how impressive the team has been in 2023 - an A++ double first, perhaps? Really, it's quite extraordinary how dominant the team was this year, right from the start in Bahrain where they opened their campaign with a 1-2 finish for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. It was another 1-2 in Saudi Arabia although this time with the drivers the other way round, and just for a moment it looked like we might be on for a battle royale between the pair, one that would make the championship battle exciting.

Unfortunately Perez' challenge fell flat. He was just 14 points behind Verstappen heading out of Miami but a horrible time in Monaco pretty much destroyed any hope he had of competing for the title. Verstappen put his foot down and relentlessly pulled away, claiming the drivers' title in Qatar one race after Red Bull sealed the constructors crown in Japan. Perez finally fell across the line to secure his P2 runners-up prize in Vegas. To his credit this is the first time Red Bull has achieved the championship trifecta in its history, meaning that despite some wobbles along the way Perez had succeeded in delivering everything he had been signed up to do. It's just that next to Verstappen, he looked second rate - just like everyone else in 2023.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with team mate Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. 06.10.2023 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Qualifying Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

The driver line-up

  • Max Verstappen: P1, 575 points
  • Sergio Perez: P2, 285 points

The gap in points between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez is by far the largest between any two team mates on the grid in 2023. And yet how can you describe Perez as being a disappointment or a failure when his tally of 285 points was still good enough to secure him the overall runners-up spot in the drivers championship ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc? Perez had two race wins and two pole positions along the way, nine Grand Prix podiums plus another three (including one win) in the sprint races. This is a genuinely impressive performance. So why are we looking at Perez like he's been a failure?

Obviously it's because in every single aspect, Perez (along with everyone else) was comprehensively schooled by his team mate. Verstappen scored twice the number of points of Perez or anyone else on the grid. He won 19 races and started on pole on 12 occasions. His run of ten back-to-back wins set a new all-time record, and his ratio of wins in a single season broke a record set by Alberto Ascari in the 1950s. He scored points from every race weekend and by the end of the season the celebrations on the Red Bull pit wall had the same tepid subdued enthusiasm of someone celebrating a successful piece of photocopying at the office. The store of superlatives had simply been used up.

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19 in parc ferme. 03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

How 2024 is looking for Red Bull

It would be lovely to inject some drama and excitement by predicting that everything will change in 2024 and the battle for wins and titles will be much closer. But we just can't see it. While it's unlikely Red Bull will be able to sustain quite the same level of dominance next year, the chances are that they will still produce another emphatic campaign that will leave their rivals trailing in their wake.

Max Verstappen is at the peak of his powers, and the other teams are struggling to unravel Adrian Newey's secrets that have made the RB19 so unbeatable. With no rules and regulations changes coming until the end of 2025 it looks like we will be seeing a lot more success for Verstappen in the next two seasons, and more frustration for their rivals. That said, F1 has a history of showing how even the most dominant teams can fall from grace without warning when least expected.

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter