Christian Horner warned against complacency in the fight against Mercedes and Ferrari, saying Red Bull's success in Formula 1 in 2022 "hurts our opponents."
Red Bull finished the 2022 season with its 17th victory of the year on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, capping off a dominant campaign that saw it win both championships for the first time since 2013. Max Verstappen achieved a season record with 15 victories, and Red Bull set a new mark for points won by a team in a calendar year. Verstappen retired in Australia, and the team started 2022 with reliability troubles, losing both of its cars in the season-opening race in Bahrain.
The RB18 took a step forward to become the most dominant car on the grid, winning 11 of the final 12 races of the season after settling in and competing head-to-head with Ferrari throughout the first half of the year. After the race in Abu Dhabi, Horner stated, “You can understand why it bothers our opponents when you win 17 Grands Prix and do what we’ve done. “They’ll be much more inspired to run as a challenger the next year, I have no doubt. Because both Mercedes and Ferrari are such elite teams, nothing in 2023 can be taken for granted.”
The popularity of Red Bull this year, however, was not without criticism. The team was found to have gone over the budget limit in 2021, which resulted in a fine and a requirement for aerodynamic testing the following year, though some teams demanded harsher penalties. After Verstappen declined to support teammate Sergio Perez in his attempt to finish second in the title at the Brazilian Grand Prix earlier this month, Horner also had to deal with some internal strife.
When asked what the company’s controversies this year had taught it, Horner responded: “You’re always learning, and eventually someone else will run into a problem. “The knives get sharper as you ascend. That has happened to us a little bit this year. And repeatedly winning is the surest way to lose friends in this paddock. “We’re a subsidiary of an energy drink competing with established names and OEMs. Naturally, some of our competitors find that uncomfortable.”