After Red Bull blitzed the 2022 world championship, winning 17 of the 22 rounds, the other nine teams could be forgiven for keeping their fingers crossed over the winter that the champions would be caught by the pack for the start of the new season.Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, then dominated the race, winning by over half a minute over Red Bull’s closest competitor – the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso.
Such was the commanding nature of Red Bull’s victory, the dynamic of the entire season appears to have been transformed. As much as the likes of Ferrari’s Frederic Vasseur can stress that the championship is not over after one race, the reality is that Ferrari, Mercedes or even Aston Martin will need to make up ground on the champions quickly if anyone will have a realistic chance of challenging them for the titles this season.
Following Red Bull’s demolition of their rivals on Sunday, George Russell was among those to voice the view that the reigning world champions should win every race this year. No team has ever whitewashed a season before – the closest being McLaren, who won 15/16 races in 1988 (93.75%) – but do Red Bull really have a chance of achieving this unprecedented feat?
As RaceFans highlighted in yesterday’s stats and facts from the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, no team has won the opening race by as great a margin as Red Bull since McLaren lapped the entire grid in the first race of 1998. The question is, will anyone be able to make up that gap over the year to come?
Red Bull clearly enjoy a very strong car, a championship-worthy power unit, a double-world champion team mate leading the team and Perez looking as if he may be closer to his team mate on the basis on the first weekend. And the RB19 hasn’t looked close to suffering any reliability issues so far.
But whether Red Bull can be stopped this year is as much down to their rivals as it is the team themselves. And from what has been shown so far, it’s hard to see anyone making up that margin in a hurry.
Winning the opening race is one thing, winning both titles is another. But it’s a whole other level of difficulty to string together a perfect run of 23 consecutive victories – even if Red Bull appear to have such a big advantage after round one.
It’s hard to crown anyone on the basis on one weekend, especially when that round was at Bahrain – a rear-limited, highly abrasive circuit where even less aerodynamically efficient cars like the Williams can put in strong performances. Verstappen and Perez said they need to see how they fare in Jeddah and Melbourne to know how strong their package is.
Many elements outside of Red Bull’s control that could ruin their chance of a perfect season. From reliability, being caught up in accidents or even Verstappen and Perez clashing while battling each other, the team are near-certain to face a setback eventually.
Even on the basis of Bahrain, it is still far, far braver to bet on Red Bull winning every race this season than not. There is just too much scope for things to change over the course of the season for the RB19’s pace advantage to hold over nine months and 22 further races.
This is especially as all of the team’s rivals have the benefit of more aerodynamic testing time than the champions do, coupled with a 10% reduction due to breaching the 2021 budget cap. Team principal Christian Horner says he “fully expects our rivals to come back hard in the future races.”
But it is also hard not to look at how dominant the team were over the final two-thirds of the season in 2022 and not see striking parallels with the first race of this season. At this stage, there’s little reason to doubt their ability to equal or even go one or two wins better than they haul of 17 wins from last year.
It will still take something remarkable for that perfect season to be realised, but there’s no reason for now why Red Bull cannot break their own record for most wins by a team in a single season.
Will Red Bull win every race this year? Will they outstrip their 17 wins of last season?
Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.
How many grands prix will Red Bull win this season?
- Red Bull will win all 23 grands prix this season (5%)
- Red Bull will win 18-22 grands prix (46%)
- Red Bull will win 13-17 grands prix (44%)
- Red Bull will win 8-12 grands prix (5%)
- Red Bull will win 2-7 grands prix (0%)
- Red Bull will only win one grand prix this season (0%)
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