Whilst Red Bull destroyed the competition in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship, the hybrid era on the whole hasn’t been kind to the Austrians, who dominated the sport before the huge regulation change was introduced.
From 2010-2013, there was no touching Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull, with the duo having claimed four consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships.
Red Bull were powered by Renault for each of those years, with the Austrians having decided to remain with the French manufacturer as they entered the hybrid era in 2014.
This ultimately, was the wrong call, with Renault having “got it wrong”, according to Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey.
Red Bull failed to consistently challenge Mercedes for the entirety of the hybrid era, until 2019, when the Milton Keynes-based outfit ditched Renault, for Honda.
This in itself was a huge gamble, with Honda having produced worse engines than Renault during the hybrid era to that point.
It was a risk that paid off, though, as come 2021 Red Bull were able to take the fight fully to Mercedes, before beating the Germans and Ferrari to the Constructors’ Championship last year.
It was a real wake-up call for Red Bull to lose their spot at the top, something Mercedes experienced themselves in 2022.
Newey admits that it was a “reset” for the Austrians, who managed to “respond” successfully with Honda.
“[You need to] have a decent engine,” Newey told Formula1.com.
“We went into the hybrid era and Renault got it wrong, so that was pretty depressing.
“You realised that in your foreseeable future if you do a spectacular job, you might snatch the odd win, but you’re never going to win a championship.
“That was a reset. I think one of the strengths of the team is that we put our heads down and got through that period, so that when once we had a good power unit again with a partnership with Honda, we were able to respond.”
Team principal Christian Horner added that focusing on what the Austrians “could control” was key, with the risk on Honda having been taken due to the Japanese manufacturer sharing the “same passion”.
“The most important thing was keeping the team together, focusing on the things we could control,” said Horner.
“We had great loyalty during that period.
“Honda shared the same passion, we took that risk, and we were then able to really start to get the foundations in place for a championship challenge.”