Photo: Red Bull Media House

Red Bull: F1 2023 Season Review

Red Bull Racing have this year brought a whole new meaning to the word dominance. It’s been a season of broken records and statistics blown out of the park to a new level. It’s hard to picture their season as a whole, so let’s break down the most dominant season in Formula One history…


Most people felt 2023 could be more of a fight for Max Verstappen than it was in 2022, even after winning the season opener in Bahrain. Although victory set the precedent for the rest of the year, the Bahrain curse would be in the back of people’s minds. How wrong would that curse be? The only challenge that was brought to Red Bull was Aston Martin in the early stages of the year, especially Fernando Alonso. Thankfully for Verstappen and teammate Sérgio Perez, the Silverstone-based team fell off.   The records broken by Verstappen this season consist of the most consecutive wins, the most wins in a season (breaking his own record from last year), the most points scored in a season, the highest percentage of wins in a season, and more. The last driver to break the consecutive win record was also with Red Bull. In 2013, Sebastien Vette won nine races back-to-back, only to be beaten 10 years later by Verstappen, who took 10 wins in a row of his own. He is currently also on a seven-win streak, so a solid start to 2024 could see that record broken again. 


The only real negative of Red Bull’s season was how far Perez was from Verstappen come the end of 2023. Although the Mexican driver ended up second in the Championship standings, he finished on 285 points, 290 behind Verstappen. This wasn’t how the beginning of the year looked though, with Checo taking two wins from the first four races, in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan. Whispers of a title challenge were going through the paddock before they quickly fell apart. Monaco was a big talking point for Perez, who crashed in qualifying. He would start the race last and not show the usual street circuit prowess we usually see from him. The main issue for Checo was not his race pace, but his qualifying struggles on most race weekends. With Verstappen usually taking pole position, the number of places Checo had to make up on a Sunday was always a tough gig. Will we see a closer Red Bull pairing in 2024? If Perez can improve on a Saturday, maybe that might just happen. 


Although they made Formula One their playing ground in 2023, If it wasn’t for the blip in Singapore, it could’ve been a perfect season for the Milton Keynes team. Set-up issues in round 16 meant Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took the victory, meaning Red Bull won all but one race all season long. As if Verstappen’s Singapore experience in 2022 wasn’t hard enough to take, Marina Bay seems to hold a grudge against the Dutchman. The race is already one of the toughest tests on the F1 calendar, so qualifying in 11th and 12th was not appreciated come Saturday evening. As if winning the race wouldn’t have hurt already, finishing in 5th and 8th would’ve had the team worrying going into Japan the race after. Team Principal Christian Horner said after the race that their “weakness was exposed”, but this wouldn’t be replicated in the following Grand Prix in Japan, as Verstappen won in Suzuka and every single race after that too. 


For many, 2023 was the year of the rabbit. For Formula One, it has been the year of the Bull. Or certainly, the lion. Will Verstappen replicate Vettel’s four consecutive Red Bull titles next year? Red Bull’s dominance this year has put even Mercedes’ turbo-era form to the sword, a time the German team will be looking to return to with their 2024 car. For the other eight teams along with Mercedes, there’s a confident whisper that Red Bull’s wind tunnel penalty will hurt the RB20 and bring the field closer. However, with the form they’re going into next season with, and a certain Adrian Newey still involved, we could see more dominance. In my opinion, teams like McLaren will have another resurgence towards to the top of the points, along with Ferrari and Mercedes. Could Aston Martin also return to their early 2023 form? Even with all of this, I think the Red Bull machine is still well-oiled enough to make it another season to remember. 


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