Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023

Red Bull taking nothing for granted despite dominant start to season – Horner

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says his team are “not taking anything for granted” despite dominating the opening round of the championship.

Max Verstappen led a comfortable one-two finish for Red Bull ahead of team mate Sergio Perez in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

A year since both his team’s cars were eliminated from the first race with fuel system failures, Horner admitted they were naturally nervous about how they would fare in opening round despite locking out the front row.

“I think, first race of the season, there’s always an element of nerves,” Horner said, “because it’s the first time you’re running two cars and there’s so many things that can go wrong. So a phenomenal performance by the whole team back at base to provide a competitive car like we’ve got to start here.

“We focused probably a little more on the race than we did on qualy and that paid its dividends today. So we were able to run on the softer compound, particularly in the middle part of the race, and still have the durability. So it was a well-executed grand prix. After last year, coming away with zero points, to have 43 on the board feels like a good response.”

With both Ferrari and Mercedes claiming that Red Bull have a significant advantage over them on performance, Horner is refusing to see his team as the clear favourites to defend their world championship titles.

“You never know,” Horner said. “I think the problem is we’ve only got one data set which is at this track, so we’re not taking anything for granted. So let’s see Jeddah in two weeks, Melbourne after that.

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“I think once we’ve got two or three circuits under our belt, we’ll get a much better picture of the strengths and weaknesses of our car and our opposition. But certainly a very healthy start and a very well-executed race to bring in those points.”

After a late retirement for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso moved up to the final podium place in third behind the two Red Bulls. Horner says that Aston Martin appear to be the team closest to Red Bull on race pace, based on how the opening grand prix of the year played out.

“They looked very strong in the race today,” he said. “It was enjoyable to see Fernando up there – it gives the 40-somethings hope that there’s life in the old boy yet. And he raced very well. He’s so, so competitive and the Aston looks a good car.”

Asked if he felt Aston Martin were now Red Bull’s biggest rivals, Horner said “based on the result of one race, you’d have to say they were the second strongest team here.”

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2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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