TEAM GUIDE: Everything you need to know about F1 champions Red Bull ahead of the 2023 season
Red Bull enjoyed their best season in almost a decade last year, coming up trumps in the constructors' championship – finally toppling Mercedes in the process – while lead driver Max Verstappen picked up his second drivers' title with a record 15 wins across the year. Here's everything you need to know about the defending champs before the 2023 season gets under way...
Drivers for 2023
Max Verstappen #1: 2 world championship titles, 35 wins, 20 pole positions, 77 podiums, 2011.5 points, 163 starts
Sergio Perez #11: 4 wins, 1 pole position, 26 podiums, 1201 points, 235 starts
After arriving on the F1 grid in 2015 aged just 17, Max Verstappen quickly put to bed any doubts that he was too young for Grand Prix racing and soon secured promotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull (winning his first race for the senior team) – and already has career stats to match a host of legendary names.
Plenty more wins are surely on the cards for the 25-year-old should Red Bull continue where they left off with the RB18 – a machine he took to 15 victories from 22 races last year on his way to his second title.
Alongside Verstappen, Sergio Perez gave Red Bull what they wanted when he arrived at the team, helping the Dutchman lift the 2021 drivers’ trophy and the outfit win the 2022 constructors’ crown – their first since 2013.
On his day, the former Sauber, McLaren and Force India man can be a match for anyone – take that blistering Saudi Arabia pole lap or confident Singapore victory in 2022, for example. But consistency is the ingredient he needs to add to the mix going forward if he's really going to fulfil his ambition to fight for the championship himself.
Statistically, the 2022 campaign was Red Bull’s most successful in F1. While an initial threat from Ferrari faded through strategic blunders, unreliability and driver mistakes, Red Bull found another gear to rack up an incredible 17 wins overall.
Such was the level of dominance they reached as the campaign developed, Verstappen finished 146 points up on nearest rival Charles Leclerc, with Red Bull putting 205 points between themselves and second-place Ferrari.
The only negative for the squad – their brief reliability problems aside – was a late-season team orders controversy, after Verstappen refused to give up a position for Perez at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix to aid his colleague’s push for P2 in the drivers’ standings.
Team Principal Christian Horner will be keen to ensure such antics are not repeated in 2023, especially if Red Bull face a more sustained challenge from the likes of Ferrari and a recovering Mercedes.
After a previous sponsorship arrangement with Sauber, the Red Bull drinks company opted to enter F1 in their own right midway through the 2000s, arriving on the grid in 2005 by taking over Jaguar Racing.
It's said that Red Bull paid only a symbolic $1 to previous owners Ford to acquire the team, though they soon opened the cheque book to turn the outfit from a midfield struggler to a championship winning force.
Prior to Ford and Jaguar’s unsuccessful five-year stint, the Milton Keynes operation was founded and run by three-time F1 champion Jackie Stewart and son Paul. A three-year spell brought several highlights, including a brilliant one-three result at the 1999 European Grand Prix, with Johnny Herbert sealing the shock victory.
Today, having become one of F1’s leading forces, Red Bull boast five constructors’ and six drivers’ world titles, alongside 92 wins and 234 podiums – all thanks to cars penned by design guru Adrian Newey, who has been central to their success.
Kicking on from their first pole positions and race wins in 2009 to win four successive drivers’ titles with Sebastian Vettel and four successive constructors’ titles from 2010 to 2013 is a mighty achievement, and one of the best winning runs in the history of the sport.
Quite simply, Red Bull will be keen for more of the same in 2023, although they face a tall order to repeat their dominance from last season.
Maintaining harmony between Verstappen and Perez could be more important than ever, with Ferrari – now led by former Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur – looking to iron out their recent issues and make the next step, and Mercedes hopeful of producing a much more competitive car after a tricky 2022 when they took just one win.
There is also the matter of the financial and sporting penalties handed out to Red Bull by the FIA for breaching the cost cap regulations in 2021, including a reduction on their wind tunnel test time.
That said, the RB18 is the perfect platform for Red Bull to build on and, despite recently losing aero chief Dan Fallows to Aston Martin, talent remains in every department. They are certainly the team to beat as we gear up for the new season of racing.