ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: The Red Bull Racing team celebrate in the Pitlane after the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Horner: F1 field is going to converge this season

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: The Red Bull Racing team celebrate in the Pitlane after the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Red Bull Formula 1 Team Principal Christian Horner believes his team’s 21-race dominance of last year will never be repeated, and expects a much tougher battle to retain their two world title crowns this year.

Regarding a repeat of 2023 for Horner’s team and their reigning World Champ Max Verstappen, the team boss is wary. StatsF1 show that in 2023 the Dutch ace bagged 19 GP victories as he cruised to his triple F1 crown. Teammate Sergio Perez finished runner-up in the standings, winning two races in the process. The other race victory, last year, went to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

With Stake F1 betting odds having Verstappen and Red Bull clear favourites for both titles again, but regarding the prospect of demolishing their rivals again in 2024, Horner is not so sure and told F1.com: “I don’t think we’ll ever see a repeat, certainly not in our lifetimes, of what we managed to achieve last  year with a car that’s managed the kind of dominance of RB19.”

While a wheel has yet to turn in testing, common sense suggests the mighty Red Bull RB19’s winning DNA will be taken to the next level by Adrian Newey and his design team and morph into the RB20.

As for the Red Bull RB20, Horner revealed: “Revolution, not revolution. I think all areas have been revisited in the car, and we can’t afford to have any complacency. The car is very much an evolution of a theme. We’re not reinventing the wheel.”

Horner: We’re into a law of diminishing returns

AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing looks on on the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 22, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Nevertheless, it’s hard to see their rivals doing anything but chasing again, with the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes letting it be known their new cars will be more revolution than evolution’ because they had nothing to evolve from that would rattle RBR, as update packages let other teams down. Will it be closer than 2023? Time will tell.

Horner believes Red Bull’s advantage will diminish: “I’m fully expecting with stable regulations, [there’ll be] diminishing returns for us, because I think we got to the top of the curve quicker than others,” says Horner.

“The field is going to converge. For us, it’s difficult to know who that will be. Will it be McLaren? Will it be Ferrari? Will it be Mercedes? It keeps moving around behind us. But that’s what we’re fully expecting.

“There’s always a reset as you go into the following year. I’m convinced that you’ll see a lot more cars that look like the RB19 philosophy going into next year. If you stand still in this business, you tend to be going backwards. I think we have got up that curve quicker than others, but we’re into a law of diminishing returns.”

Horner believes that success-based limited wind-tunnel time will cost his team: “With the lack of wind tunnel time that we’ve had, even though we transitioned early, we still had less time in practice than a great many of our opponents. So, we’ve had to be very frugal and selective of where we apply that time for RB20, which will try to build on the strengths of RB19.”

Commercially, Red Bull’s huge success in F1 means energy drink cans are flying off the shelves explained Horner: “We sold over 320 million cans off the back of Formula 1 activities. That would put Red Bull Racing in the top 10 countries for Red Bull. So Formula 1 delivers.”

Big Question: Will the F1 field converge in 2024?

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