World champion Max Verstappen hit “phenomenal new heights” during a record-breaking season, says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Verstappen won his third-consecutive world title in 2023 with a record-breaking 19 victories from 23 rounds, while Red Bull successfully defended their constructors’ championship from last season. Red Bull also set new records for the most victories by a team in a single season, as well as breaking McLaren’s 1988 record for most consecutive grand prix wins.
Hailing his historic season, Verstappen said it was never the goal for him to set new all-time records in the sport.
“We’ve won a lot as a team,” Verstappen said. “But it’s also just been really enjoyable to work with everyone inside the team.
“Of course, once you are winning a few in a row, you want to keep that momentum going. The pressure is always on, you always want to do well. But I was never thinking about trying to break all these kind of records, I was just trying to do the best I could every single race weekend and enjoy it as well at the same time. Because you know that these kind of great moments, they don’t come along that often. So it was, of course, a very, very good year.”
Horner said his team’s achievements throughout 2023 demonstrated that Red Bull’s strengths were more than just having an historically great car in their RB19.
“It’s been a remarkable season for us,” Horner said. “None of us could have ever imagined this kind of season that we’ve just completed.
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“To win 21 out of the 22 races, five out of the six sprint races, defend both titles and break many records along the way – some that have stood since 1988.
“I think it epitomises that every aspect of the team has just been operating at a phenomenal level and it’s not just the design of the car and the operation of the car. It’s the production, it’s the support functions – it’s every single department. Across all the different challenges, the different types of circuits, conditions that we’ve had over the course of the year. Reliability – our partner Honda, giving us a great product for the year as well.
“So it’s a combination of all those aspects that have come together that has just been the most gratifying team performance that I doubt will be able to achieve again, statistically, what we’ve done this year.”
Verstappen won his third world title with the greatest winning margin any driver has ever achieved in Formula 1, scoring points in ever grand prix and leading over 1,000 racing laps in the season. Horner said his world champion driver continued to improve as a driver following his first two titles.
“He just continues to hit new levels,” Horner said. “I think the only damage that he did this year was driving out of the garage in Silverstone and clipping the front wing.
“It’s just phenomenal, the heights that he’s hit, the consistency. Some of the races – even with adversity coming from the back of the grid after issues in qualifying – there’s been some stunning performances this year and he just continues to raise the bar. It’s just great to see how he works with the team, with his engineering team. And we are exactly that – we’re a team. Everybody’s just got that same hunger and desire and, of course, Max is leading that from the front from behind the wheel.”
Despite enjoying the best season any driver has ever had, Verstappen insists that there is room for him and Red Bull to improve into next season.
“You can talk about percentages or whatever, but for sure there’s always things that we can do better,” he said. “We know that.
“Of course, the car’s been very, very dominant, but we’ve also seen a few, let’s say, weaknesses in the car, which I think we can do better. And that’s what we’re working on for next year.”
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