Christian Horner has warned that Red Bull’s motivation is “sky high” going into the 2022 F1 season, as new technical regulations are introduced into the sport.
Following Max Verstappen’s championship triumph last year after a long battle with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, Horner says that the team are “riding on the crest of a wave” from their success, with Verstappen looking to defend his title going into the new campaign.
“I think 2021 will go down in history as one of the all-time great years,” Horner said at the launch of Red Bull’s new car, the RB18.
“I mean, I can’t remember a year like that in Formula 1, where it was so close between the two drivers from the very first race to the very last.
“Our challenge is now to build on that. Now we have that number 1 on the car, [our challenge] is to keep it on the car and defend that title with Max, which, with a brand new set of regulations, is going to be incredibly difficult.
“We’ve got massive competition out there, but motivation is sky high, and we’re riding on the crest of a wave from last year.”
Horner: Development will make the difference in 2022
Horner acknowledges that development will be important in the 2022 season, given the new regulations coming into effect.
“You’re always improving; you can always learn from previous experience,” he explained.
“But of course, with a complete new set of regulations, it’s going to be all about the development, [and] how quickly the teams get on top of this set of new regulations, the biggest regulation change for probably 30 to 40 years in Formula 1.
“So development is going to be thick and fast, and of course with the cost cap, it’s got to be efficient.”
Have Red Bull missed something with the new rules?
In terms of what the team want to achieve in the upcoming campaign, Horner hopes that they can ultimately defend Verstappen’s title, but admits that there is uncertainty in regards to the new regulations.
“We’re aiming very much to build on what we achieved last year,” the Team Principal detailed.
“So the target is to try and obviously retain the title, and the big unknown is, have we missed something with these regulations? Has another team stolen a march, because of the focus and effort that went into 2021?
“We believe we’ve got a good car. RB18 is coming to life, and seeing it today is fantastic, so it’s a combination of a huge effort from the team.
“[I’m] looking forward to seeing it out on the track in anger, because with the new regulation change, the whole philosophy of the regulations has altered from last year.
“So that means that every single component is brand new this year and, with it being a ground effect car, with it being designed to make overtaking hopefully easier, [making] the cars easier to follow each other, that’s changed the whole philosophy of how we design these cars.
“It’s a steep learning curve, it’s steep for everyone, and it’s a race of development between first race and the last race.”
Red Bull launched the new RB18 on Wednesday, as the 2022 F1 season approaches, but they appear to be keeping their cards close to their chest…