The Singapore Grand Prix marked a painful turn of fortune for Red Bull Racing as their unprecedented winning streak of 15 races came to an end at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner reflected on the weekend, recognising the weaknesses of their previously unbeaten RB19 car and considering it a valuable lesson for their 2024 RB20.
Starting from 11th on the grid, Max Verstappen managed to secure a fifth-place finish, while Sergio Perez climbed to eighth from 13th.
Red Bull had struggled with pace throughout the weekend, leading to a double Q2 exit in qualifying.
Horner admitted that their simulation before the weekend had not provided the correct insights, saying, “I think maybe our simulation before the weekend didn’t lead us to the right conclusion, and then you have to sort of unravel your way out of that.”
He continued, “We just ended up in the wrong window and it exposed some of our weaknesses that the car has.
“It has actually been a very useful lesson for next year because it gives us a very useful insight on certain things that hopefully we can address in RB20.”
Horner highlighted the team’s improved understanding after the race, stating, “We understood a lot more in the race, and the pace of the car came much more back to what we expected.”
Verstappen and Perez had started on hard tires, hoping to gain positions when cars ahead of them pitted.
However, a Safety Car deployment on lap 20 due to an incident involving Logan Sargeant disrupted their strategy.
While they briefly held second and fourth positions, the leaders benefited from a ‘free’ pit stop, and Verstappen and Perez struggled on older tires.
Horner explained the strategic challenges, saying, “The lap the Safety Car came out on was probably strategically the worst possible lap for the strategy that we were on because it gave the cars ahead of us a free stop at the same time as whilst giving us track position, it made us take the restart with tires that are very hard to heat up again having done over 20 laps.”
Despite these setbacks, both Red Bull drivers made impressive recoveries in the final stint.
Looking ahead to the Japanese Grand Prix, Horner expressed optimism about their prospects, stating, “Look at the last 18 months; this has probably been one of our trickiest race weekends – or certainly Friday and Saturday. In the race, the car was pretty strong.
“A completely different layout, completely different type of circuit, so hopefully we can be competitive in Japan.”
Horner also addressed the speculation that Red Bull could win every race in 2023, saying, “We never expected [a clean sweep].
“There were still eight [now seven] races to go. I’ve been asked since pretty much Jeddah, and to have got through 15 races is beyond our wildest imaginations.”
He expressed pride in Max Verstappen’s record of 10 consecutive wins and Red Bull’s dominance in the sport, concluding, “While statistics apparently don’t matter, they are ones that as a team we are incredibly proud of.”