Horner: RB19 'cut-and-shut' diet key to Red Bull superiority

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 in parc ferme. 05.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says that the team put its 2022 chassis on a severe diet to trim it down by 20kg in order to come up with this year's record-breaking RB19 car.

The previous model hadn't exactly been a slouch either, winning 17 out of the 22 races that season, although slower in single lap pace where it claimed only eight pole positions compared to 12 to their closest rivals Ferrari.

But in the end, Red Bull claimed 759 points compared to Ferrari's 554, with Verstappen almost 150 points ahead of Charles Leclerc by the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

However this year's performance by the team has been next level, winning all but one race and starting form pole in 14 races, leaving to Verstappen claiming his third consecutive title with twice the number of points of his nearest rival.

Verstappen set new records in a number of categories, including becoming the first driver to win ten races in a season back-to-back. All the more amazing given that this year's car was to a large degree made from last year's parts.

"We managed to get 20 kilos out of the car coming into this year, and tidy up some of the imperfections," Horner explained to the media including Motorsport.com before the winter break.

"I think that was probably the fundamental difference between the 2022 car and the 2023 car," he said. "The most significant thing that we were able to address was the weight.

"We were so late going on to the new regs in 2021 [after the final-race title decider in 2021] that the car in 2022 was a bit on the chunky side," he admitted. "We were carrying that deficit for a large percentage of the year.

"So it was a little bit everywhere," he continued. "It was not one specific area that you could take the weight off, it was just marginal gains in all areas.

"It was effectively a cut-and-shut for this year," he continued. "With the RB19 there were a large number of components that came from the RB18: gearbox, a large percentage of the suspension, and half of the chassis

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal celebrates with 1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. 24.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"There were a great many carryover parts and some of the components have actually won, in Max's case, 19 races this year and 15 last year," he pointed out. "So the combination of the two is 34 races.

Despite the RB19's domination of the latest season, it's clear that failing to get a clean sweep of all 22 Grand Prix race wins was the annoying flaw in the ointment as far as Horner was concerned.

"That race just bought it home that if you miss the target, it's small margins," he explained. "We arrived with a set-up our simulation tools led us down the route of and it just didn't work on that circuit, on that day, particularly in qualifying.

"In the race the pace started to come back to us, but I think if we'd have known what we knew after the event going into the event, we would have been in a much more competitive position."

Red Bull's rivals will be earnestly hoping that Adrian Newey doesn't find more fat to trim off the car before the start of next season, when another Verstappen masterclass is expected.

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