Christian Horner explains why he was shocked by Red Bull’s 2022 car

Red Bull were one of the last teams to switch their focus to the new regulations during the 2021 season.

With Max Verstappen on the cusp of retaining his Drivers’ World Championship at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, Red Bull boss Christian Horner has revealed how amazed he’s been by his side’s complete domination.

Red Bull put more time into their 2021 challenger than arguably any other team, with the Austrians having been the last side to switch their focus to the 2022 aerodynamic regulations.

During the 2021 campaign, a number of teams prioritised designing their 2022 car, due to the brand-new aerodynamic regulations.

Mercedes and Ferrari were two of the sides who halted development on their 2021 challengers fairly early in the season, whilst Red Bull pushed on with making their RB16B as strong as possible.

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The Milton Keynes-based team continued to develop their 2021 car due to their titanic title battle with Sir Lewis Hamilton, with Horner admitting that they couldn’t halt developments after getting a “sniff” of the 2021 crown.

Their strategy ultimately worked, with Verstappen claiming the 2021 title, albeit under controversial circumstances.

However, Horner was worried that their 2021 pursuit would “compromise” this season, due to spending less time working on a car for the new regs.

What has unfolded this year is beyond the Briton’s wildest dreams, as Red Bull have remarkably built the best car on the grid.

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With 12 victories to their name, 11 being thanks to Verstappen alone, the Austrians are all but certain to claim the Constructors’ Championship for the first time since 2013, ending Mercedes’ eight-year domination.

Verstappen and Sergio Pérez have claimed 16 podiums between them, proving that Horner had nothing to worry about.

“I would say so,” Horner told the Beyond the Grid podcast, when asked if F1 is more competitive now than when he took up his role at Red Bull.

“In 2021, we were operating at an incredible level and we finally got a sniff of putting a challenge together for a world championship and that was a 22-race championship bout, a heavyweight fight from race one to race 22.

“What has been particularly pleasing about this year is despite colossal regulation changes we had to undergo coming into this year -and we honestly thought we had compromised this year by putting everything we had into last year – the team came up with an amazing car, a super car.

“Max has made another step, Checo [Perez] has felt more part of the team this year with a lot more familiarity.

“To be sitting here having won 12 grands prix, and with 16 podiums so far has been an incredible season for us.”

Despite the late transition from the 2021 car to the 2022, Horner actually thinks the RB18 might be the team’s “most successful car ever”, which, based on their domination, is easy to agree with.

“We were probably the last team to transition onto the ’22 regulations,” Horner believes.

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“We went quite late on development through ’21 because when you have a sniff of a championship, we would have kicked ourselves if we hadn’t done everything you possibly could, which meant compromising ’22.

“But the team in Milton Keynes, whilst we were away fighting for the championship, did an incredible job over the winter to come up with the RB18 which has been potentially our most successful car ever.

“From the first race, we were right there. So tremendously rewarding for the whole team.”