For all its unwavering supremacy in 2023, Red Bull’s RB19 failed to deliver in one specific area according to the team’s technical director Pierre Wache.
The Milton Keynes-based outfit’s 2023 season was nothing short of extraordinary, marked by unprecedented dominance and unparalleled success.
Red Bull’s RB19 machine - powered by a Honda engine - proved to be an unstoppable force, securing 19 wins in the hands of world champion Max Verstappen and 2 victories with Sergio Perez at the wheel.
In Singapore, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz hit Red Bull with its single defeat of the year.
Red Bull’s success is a testament to the outfit’s steadfast dedication and technical expertise, and to Verstappen’s driving prowess.
But Wache nevertheless singled out a singular trait embedded in the team’s RB19 and which manifested itself by Perez’s inability to capitalize on the car’s potential.
The Mexican was on a par with his teammate in the opening rounds of 2023, but progressively lost his way thereafter, whether in qualifying or on race day, as the RB19's development moved away from his driving style according to his own assertions.
“A fast car is a car that allows the driver to perform to the maximum,” Wache told Formule1 in a special edition of the Dutch magazine dedicated to Verstappen’s third world title in F1.
“We failed in that respect because only one driver, Max in this case, could handle it well.
“That is Max’s talent, that he managed to use the car well throughout the season and under different conditions.
“On the other hand, we in turn may not have properly understood what Checo needs to get the potential out of the RB19.”
While Red Bull will likely be hard pressed to emulate in 2024 its extraordinary level of success from this season, losing isn’t an option for Wache and his engineers.
“At Red Bull we basically have all the resources and so there are no excuses to lose,” explained the Frenchman. “At least for me, I am a perfectionist.
“Technical people are strict. At our level, it is not the perfection that you never achieve that is important, but attention to detail. Because that’s how we make the difference.
“In our profession, a car that is 1% slower is a bad car, which is bizarre when you think about it.”
Although the team is confident of picking up in Bahrain next year where it left off in Abu Dhabi last weekend, team boss Christian Horner insists that there are no guarantees in the dynamic world of F1 that it will maintain its superiority for the duration of the season.
“We saw that in 2020 with Mercedes, if you remember that was their most dominant year and yet we were able to beat them in 2021,” Horner said at Yas Marina last week.
“There was a subtle rule change but I think nothing stands still and we had competitors coming closer at different venues and I’m sure concepts will converge, stable regulations always concertina, so I don’t think we will ever be able to repeat the season we’ve had.
“Hopefully we can take the lessons from RB19 and apply them into RB20 and come up with a car that we can defend these titles with.”