Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2019

Red Bull’s 2019 success was “beyond expectations” – Horner

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the team outstripped its expectations in 2019.


What they say

Red Bull won three races in their first season using Honda power units:

It really has been beyond expectations in many respects. The relationship with Honda has been fantastic, the reliability, the performance increase with each engine, it’s been very much a highlight.

And I think the way Max has driven as well has been very, very positive. We obviously had the driver change halfway through the year and I think that was the right thing to do.

I think Alex [Albon] has earned his seat in the car for next year and we go into the winter on the back of a very promising result here in Abu Dhabi with a lot of motivation

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Don’t believe the nay-sayers about F1’s 2021 rules changes, says @Mashiat:

This is typical F1, where the impact of changes is usually exaggerated, and when it actually comes to it, it’s really nowhere near as bad. I remember back in 2013, we had drivers and engineers stating that the new power units produced so much torque that they had to take hairpins in fifth gear just to control the wheelspin, but when 2014 came, it was not even close to being that bad.

Then the 2019 cars were supposedly going to be two seconds a lap slower, but instead, they’ve been breaking track records at most tracks. I fully expect the 2021 cars to be slower than the 2020 ones, but by a considerably smaller margin than estimated. And if they have lower downforce levels than the current generation, and are “nastier to drive”, then what’s wrong with that? It will probably still have more downforce levels than probably 90% of F1 cars in history.

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  • 15 comments on “Red Bull’s 2019 success was “beyond expectations” – Horner”

    1. Not to take away anything from Red Bull’s great year, and success with Honda, but if my memory serves me right, I think Dr. Marko was looking for 5 wins this year?

      1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
        14th December 2019, 4:08

        And I believe he was alone in that expectation within the Red Bull family.

        Considering Gasly ruined the Hungarian win and Max stupidly threw away the Mexican win you could argue they came pretty damm close.

        With Daniel Riccardio as 2nd driver I firmly believe Red Bull would have finished 2nd in constructor championship and would have gotten those 5 wins.

      2. @phylyp, Marko’s pre-season statement was that he was expecting “at least five wins” for the team in 2019, and I believe he’d also suggested that could result in a full blown attempt at the WDC with Verstappen as well.

        Now, it’s true that Marko was the only one who explicitly stated how many wins he expected the team to take this season, but I do believe that Horner did support Marko’s assertion after the pre-season tests that they believed they were close to Ferrari (whom they reckoned were the fastest) and ahead of Mercedes.

      3. He probably included Saturday wins ;)

      4. @phylyp
        Al though Marko was a tad optimistic, and probably doing some PR-speak, the general consensus between fans and pundits was that we would see a lot of smoke, zero wins and a struggle to remain in front of Renault and McLaren.
        So, it’s kinda ok for Horner, who probably had his fingers crossed too, to say they exceeded expectations.
        Did you expect RBR to have such a positive season, despite missing an adequate driver half the season?

        1. Did you expect RBR to have such a positive season, despite missing an adequate driver half the season?

          Oconomo – good question. I honestly expected Gasly to do better, but the car to do worse. I was fearing RBR dropping back into a clear F1.25 – clear of the midfield but unable to challenge Merc and Ferrari.

          So yes, RBR exceeded my expectations, just as Ferrari lived up to my fears.

          @coldfly – LOL :) In seriousness, their poles at Hungary and Brazil are impressive, in that they could pull off that one-lap pace.

          @jelle-van-der-meer and anon – thank you for your responses.

          1. Personally I was uncomfortable with Marko’s prediction as I thought they were going to have a lot of teething issues, and I did not expect from Honda what we got. I didn’t think, in year one of their marriage, they’d even get one win, and that it would be a much steeper learning curve for 2019. So in that sense Marko was sure a lot closer to reality than I was, but then of course he is inside the team lol and would know much more than I. I was never going to hold him to the number of 5 and thought it was unnecessary bravado at the time. Thank goodness I was wrong. What a thrill it has been to see them this solid already from one season (and the STR season before of course).

        2. Oconomo, personally, I had predicted that Red Bull’s 2019 season would not be at either end of the spectrum, but was far more likely to be more in the middle, which is pretty much what has happened.

          It’s been a solid enough performance, but it’s left the team in a position that wasn’t hugely different to where they were with Renault – it wasn’t a disastrously unreliable and uncompetitive season, but nor was it the massive jump forward in performance and title challenge that I saw some Honda fans on other sites predicting would occur (I did see some Honda fans predicting that Red Bull would be battling for the WCC and that Verstappen would take a dominating WDC victory this season).

          Equally, I had kind of expected Red Bull to be mostly centred and relying around Verstappen in 2019, not least because I had been a little underwhelmed by Gasly’s performance in junior series on the way up into F1 and felt he was overhyped in 2018 on the back of his performance in Bahrain.

          Whilst I wasn’t expecting him to be quite as terrible as he was, Red Bull just didn’t have a driver of Ricciardo’s calibre in place, so I was expecting that to make things difficult for them in the WCC. That said, in 2019 they seemed to be focussing more on the WDC than the WCC in their public announcements anyway.

      5. Helmut Marko is always a bit optimistic, but wasn’t really far off…
        At Monaco RBR still lacked a good party modus, Verstappen though was fastest in the race, but it’s impossible to overtake a competitive car on that track
        Hungary was very very close, but still a bit short on power
        Singapore was quite dissapointing…RBR used wrong settings and it leaves us guessing what Ferrari actually did with their engines.
        Mexico, Bottas ruined the party…even with the penalty Max probably would have won anyways…according to Lewis.

        A couple of races very close, Aero not to impressive at the start of the season, down on luck a few times …Silverstone would have been a P2 while Japan is always been a good track for Max… Honda lacked still a bit of power.
        Impressive first season with a new engine though

    2. RB had a two step forward one step back type of yr. Losing a driver of Ricciardos calibre and experience was as most people accepted was going to have an effect. Put that with their first yr with a new ICE supplier ,even though they did have a bit of feedback from their jr team from the previous yr.
      If I remember correctly the general consensus at the start of the season was that they’d be a solid 3rd behind Merc and Ferrari, so they would maintain their spot in the field. Taking all of the swings and roundabouts out, overall that turned out about right.

    3. My problem with the point the #COTD is making is that I also think all of the purported gains/impacts of the new designs (follow more closely, don’t burn out tires, better racing) will also be much, much less than they say.

      More of the same isn’t a good thing, imo. I’m already disappointed that 2021 is not happening in 2020.

    4. I have to correct the COTD a bit. The estimation was 1.5 seconds from ’18 to ’19, not 2 seconds. Other than that, I agree with it. The estimation for ’21 is 3.0-3.5 seconds, but I hope it’d be less than that.

      BTW, I wonder if all the teams (the ones that have a simulator) already have the Hanoi track in it to try out this well in advance.

      1. @jerejj I wouldn’t mind slower cars if they’re able to race each other which I think is the idea here, and we’ll know in 2021 if it works. The only limit I would put speed-wise is to remain faster than F2, WEC and Indy by a margin. I’m really curious about the outcome of this.

    5. Well, I suppose Honda clearly was beyond the expectations of Red Bull, given this year their reason for not being really competitive at the start of the season was that the car had too little downforce/drag to compensate for the weaker engine they didn’t get.

      At the track the team remained top notch and did pretty much as good as then could be expected, certainly in the first half, though I think there were some missed opportunities in the second half.

      I hope next year, with the suitable higher expectations, they can start from an improved level and continue to reap the bigger opportunities that gives them, ie. a fight for the WDC.

      1. @bosyber, Marko himself has suggested it was nothing to do with “too little downforce/drag to compensate for the weaker engine they didn’t get”, and more that the handling balance of the car was just fundamentally poor.

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