'This car will go down in the history books' – Horner reflects on 'phenomenal' Red Bull season
The RB19 has swept all before it this season, breaking a string of records in the hands of the now three-time world champion Max Verstappen. With his team mate also chipping in with two early season wins, that Red Bull car has victories in 21 of the 22 races this year, a staggering feat that dwarfs comparisons to other eras of dominance.
Verstappen’s win at the final race of the season made it 19 victories for him, with the anomaly of Singapore the only weekend where Red Bull didn’t stand on the top step of the rostrum. They also managed to win five of the six Sprints between them too, Oscar Piastri in Qatar the only driver able to get the better of the RB19 in the shorter format.
“This car is going to go down in the history books as a very, very special car,” said Horner. “To have won 21 races out of the 22… just missing out in Singapore leaves room for improvement. But, I mean, what a year.
“I think more than anything, for all the men and women behind the scenes back at the factory, across the whole business… all the support staff as well have made this happen. They’ve played their role in making and delivering this car and operating it.
"We’ve had 22 different venues; we’ve won at 21 of them. There’s been rain, wind, all kinds of conditions and strategy. It’s just been the most phenomenal year and everybody can take a huge amount of pride in what they’ve achieved.”
It wasn’t just the RB19’s obvious pace that made this year so spectacular for the team as they picked up accolades for most wins in a season, most wins by a single driver, most wins by one driver from pole, most points and their first ever 1-2 finish in the drivers’ championship.
The RB19 was also incredibly reliable, with a strong Power Unit delivering the goods on the straights, a dominant DRS assembly, and a slew of early season upgrades that kept lifting them even further clear of the field.
“It’s all about winning, it’s all about achieving a goal and I think we went through some difficult years, and we never lost sight of what our target was,” Horner continued. “In those difficult years we were always picking up wins here and there and we never lost that fighting spirit.
“We still operate very much as an old school race team. We push the limits, we push ourselves and I think nobody wants to let the side down. As soon as Honda came back with a competitive engine, we were in a position to capitalise on that, and I have to pay tribute to them for the role they’ve played and the reliability we’ve seen as well.”
Even Mercedes’ 2016 season doesn’t match this one for dominance, the Silver Arrows losing out in two races across 21 Grands Prix that year. What Red Bull have done has staggered even the most cynical of paddock veterans – but they are not resting on their laurels.
“We are always looking to marginal gains, as it’s never enough,” Horner added. “We know our opponents; this will have motivated them to come back at us hard. Nothing stands still in this sport, everything moves so quickly and you can see as we weren’t developing the opposition coming closer and closer.
“So, we hopefully take all of these lessons out of this car and apply it to RB20, our 20th car next year and try and defend these two titles.”