Christian Horner, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2023

Verstappen “hasn’t changed in the last four or five years” despite success – Horner

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is confident that world champion Max Verstappen will be just as driven and strong in 2024.

Verstappen and Red Bull enjoyed a record-breaking season in 2023, winning almost every race in the championship with Verstappen taking 19 victories and team mate Sergio Perez winning two others.

Victory only evaded Red Bull in the Singapore Grand Prix, where the champions lacked performance relative to their rivals across the weekend. Ferrari would ultimately take their sole win of the season at Marina Bay, courtesy of Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Horner says that he “never dreamt” of having a season where Red Bull would win almost every grand prix through the season.

“[The media] have been asking me since about race three, ‘do you think you can win all the races this year?’,” he said. “But to win 21 out of 22 races is insanity.

“For Max to have led over 1,000 laps, for him to have won 19 races, to have broken McLaren’s record from 1988, to have broken Sebastian Vettel’s our own record – from 2013, with Max. The win ratios, all the percentages that he’s hit. This car will go down in history, certainly for, I think a considerable period of time, the most successful car in Formula 1 history.”

Horner admitted his team’s defeat in Singapore had left him “humbled” and had acted as an important reminder to his team.

“There’s still something to strive for,” he said. “It is a useful lesson that things can change quickly. Singapore was a stand-out weekend.”

With Verstappen having claimed the last two world titles in crushing fashion, Horner does not expect the mentality or the approach of his champion driver.

“I think he will be exactly the same,” Horner said. “He hasn’t changed in the last four or five years.

“He’s a racer – he wants to race, he wants to win. He’s at one with a car, he’s got so much natural ability and self-confidence in his own ability and faith in his own ability. I think he will just be looking to continue this train. Now it’s up to us to give him the tools to be able to do that. Hopefully we can take some of the lessons from this car and apply it into RB20.”

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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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9 comments on “Verstappen “hasn’t changed in the last four or five years” despite success – Horner”

  1. Oh dear, this means that golden boy will still push people of the track when under pressure.

    1. pretty much. but at least his teammate will get punished for the same thing.

  2. Rubbish, Horner will literally say anything.

    1. I remember Martin Brundle not long ago saying that out of all the current drivers, he would like to sit down and have a pint with Max the most.
      That tells you a lot about how his perceived reputation amongst rival fans is indeed rubbish.

      1. Who cares, Brundle will say anything on scripted Sky F1 it’s like made in Chelsea. 33 has got worse and will crumble as soon as he hasn’t got a rocketship.

  3. Well, Max was in the F1 paddock since his earliest years with his father. Then he entered F1 in his teens, so he pretty much grew up in F1, so there was nothing for him to be suddenly changed by.

  4. That is a harsh thing to say ! I thought Verstappen had mellowed and matured quite a bit, especially since he has won his first title and fulfilled his dad’s very heavy expectations.

  5. Silent but Deadly
    5th December 2023, 22:00

    Doesn’t he mean “fourteen or fifteen” years? Maybe longer.

  6. And the good thing about that is? LOL

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