Horner expecting grid of RB19 lookalikes

Horner expecting grid of RB19 lookalikes

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Christian Horner admits that he expects to see a lot of familiar looking cars on the grid this season as rivals seek to emulate the success of the all-conquering RB19.

Arguably the most successful car in the history of the sport, having won 21 of the season’s 22 races, there is no doubt that the Red Bull RB19 was the target to which others aspire.

Though team boss Christian Horner and Max Verstappen have played down a 2024 (and possibly 2025) repeat, the fact is that with no real rule changes either Red Bull would have to make a catastrophic mistake with its winning car or rivals would need to take an impressive step forward.

To that end, a number of teams have already admitted that their latest contender will see a return to the drawing board, with many likely to use the concept of the RB19 as their starting point.

“It’s been a very special period for the team and, hopefully, we can carry that momentum into next year,” says Horner. “But I’m fully expecting, with stable regulations, there will be diminishing returns for us because I think we got to the top of the curve quicker than others.

“The field is going to converge,” he insists, “and 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. That’s what we’re fully expecting as we go into next year.”

Other than his team’s rivals closing the gap, Horner admits that there is always the chance that Red Bull could effectively drop the ball.

“There’s always a reset as you go into the following year,” he says. “I’m convinced you’ll see a lot more cars that perhaps look like an RB19 and its philosophy going into next year. It’s inevitable they would do.

“If you stand still in this business, you tend to go backward, and I think we got up that curve quicker than others but, as I say, we’re into a law of diminishing returns.”

Frustratingly for its rivals, Red Bull’s utter dominance came in spite of the restriction on wind tunnel time and CFD use, the result of exceeding the budget cap in 2021.

“Of course, 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,” says the Briton. “So we’ve had to be very frugal and selective of where we apply that time for RB20, that will try to build on the strengths of 19.

“All areas have been revisited in the car,” he says of the RB20, “and we can’t afford to have any complacency, so the car is very much an evolution of a theme.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel,” he adds. “That has been very much the route of the engineering path over the last twelve months.”

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