Adrian Newey admits Red Bull’s Ferrari ‘worry’

Red Bull driver duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez won 17 of the 22 completed races in 2022 between them.

2022 was, without a doubt, Red Bull’s season, with the Austrians having been imperious for virtually the entire campaign.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit ultimately claimed the Constructors’ Championship with ease, their first since 2013, the year before the hybrid generation of Formula 1 started.

On their way to a well-deserved crown, Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez claimed 17 victories from the 22 races in the most recent season.

Ferrari and Mercedes claimed five combined, further highlighting the Austrian’s dominance.

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In all honesty, it is because of Verstappen that Red Bull won the Constructors’ Championship so emphatically, with the Dutchman having 15 of Red Bull’s 17 victories.

Verstappen claimed the Drivers’ Championship with ease, with the double World Champion having broken the record for most points scored in a single season.

Despite it all, though, Red Bull were “worried” heading into the season, with Ferrari having looked incredibly strong even before pre-season started.

The start of the season was also very strong for the Scuderia, after Charles Leclerc won two of the opening three races, before the Italians season quickly fell away.

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Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey has revealed that the team’s RB18 “definitely had some weaknesses” at the start of the year, but that by the end they had a “fully competitive package”.

“In pre-season testing, we were a little bit worried before we got there,” Newey admitted.

“We’d already done a little bit of research and knew roughly what we needed to do to improve it [RB18], so when we put the race one package on in Bahrain just before the race, that catapulted us from definitely behind Ferrari to broadly level.

“The car definitely had some weaknesses in the first half of the season and still had some [at the end], but we reduced those weaknesses, and certainly by the second half, we had a fully competitive package.”

With 17 wins to its name, the RB18 is Red Bull’s most successful car since joining the sport back in 2005.

Newey explained how “very proud” the team are of the RB18, considering that the team didn’t start developing it until very late into the 2021 season.

“Statistically, obviously RB18 has been our best car,” added Newey.

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“It’s a car I think we can be very proud of in as much as we had a tight championship battle through ’21, obviously, so we kept developing the car well into the season.

“And of course, when you have limited resources, if you’re putting research and development into that car then that research and development are not going into this brand new car for the new regulations which we knew were coming.

“It’s a difficult balancing act, but we focused on trying to get the fundamentals right, trying to get the package in a way that, even if it didn’t start out as the quickest car, we could develop through the season.”