Speaking after Red Bull and Max Verstappen secured both the 2022 constructors’ and drivers’ championships, team boss Christian Horner reflects on the season in which Red Bull battled controversy over their budget cap breach. The championships also dealt with the loss of their company founder, an instrumental figure in the team.
Speaking of the 2022 season, Horner discussed the importance of continued learning in the sport, acknowledging that complacence costs teams their competitive edge.
“I think in life and in this sport in particular, you’re always learning,” Horner said. “You learn on the days that you lose, you learn on the days that you win. You learn from everything that goes on in the sport, and of course that applies to everybody involved.
“The day that you think you know it all is the day that you start going backwards. So of course there are many many lessons that we’ll take out of this year.”
Horner then reflected on the highs and lows the team faced during the season.
“[There are] obviously a huge amount of positives. It’s been a phenomenal year for the team, for the drivers. For our partners.
“Obviously, in a year where we unfortunately lost our founder, to have had the most successful year that we’ve ever had in the sport, is testimony and [is] dedicated to him.”
Horner continued to state he believes Red Bull had a target painted on their back off track during the 2022 season. He went on to affirm that the team continues to focus on racing rather than the politics elsewhere in the sport.
“I think, off track, we’ve had firmly a target on our back this year,” he stated bluntly. “We’re a race team. We’re not a political organisation. We just focus on going racing, and we’re hard racers, we push the boundaries which is what race teams do if they want to succeed.
“That’s always been our approach. It’s worked well for us, it’s the way we enjoy competing. At times it has been tough this year. That’s, unfortunately, Formula 1.”
Looking ahead to next season, Horner admits the team will have a bigger target painted on their back. Speaking with a tone of understanding of the perspective of Red Bulls opposition, he says it must hurt to see your rivals win seventeen races out of a twenty two race calendar.
“As I say, ‘the higher you rise, the sharper the knives’,” he said when quizzed about the coming season.
“When you win seventeen Grands Prix and do what we’ve done, you can understand that that hurts our opponents, and I’m sure that they’ll be even more motivated to become a challenger next year.
“They [Ferrari and Mercedes] are both such high quality teams, nothing can be taken for granted in 2023.”