"Next year we have some rule changes"- Red Bull not confident of repeating 2022 F1 season's dominance in 2023

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
The Red Bull Racing team push Max Verstappen's (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 car onto the grid during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022, in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan believes his team might not be as dominant in the 2023 F1 season as they are this season due to the impending rule changes. The Briton feels that they will be competitive but their dominance will not be replicated in the same fashion, as their rivals will also improve.

Speaking to the Motorsport Network, Monaghan said:

“Next year we have some rule changes and we have less resources than our rivals in terms of aerodynamics or hours of wind tunnel and CFD use because of our results in the Constructors’ Championship. I could counter-argue that we have the best people in our factory, but that’s perhaps a bit of an egocentric view. So, I’m not sure that this year’s performance can be carried over to 2023, I can’t say that the home straight of this season will be beneficial for us next year.”

The 55-year-old Red Bull man believes the 2023 tweaks to the rules featuring floor changes and changes in the height of the car might influence their ability to dominate. Monaghan doubts that their dominance in the 2022 season could be replicated the following season, citing that their rivals will also be on par with them.

Further downplaying the idea of dominating the 2023 F1 season, the Red Bull chief engineer said:

“We have to move at least at the pace of our rivals. We have to manage the rule changes for floor edge height well, as well as the change in stiffness, trying to lose less than our rivals or at least the same amount. Obviously I think we will still be competitive next year. But if the question is whether we can repeat what we’re doing right now, I’m not sure. We’ll do the best job we can with some of the best people in the pitlane, and then we’ll judge what we’ve been able to do after one, two, or three races, won’t we?”

Red Bull believe their 2022 F1 car suited Max Verstappen more than Sergio Perez as the season progressed

Speaking at a team representative's press conference ahead of the 2022 F1 Italian GP, Red Bull technical director Pierre Waché stated that RB18 developed as the season progressed and started suiting Max Verstappen more than Sergio Perez. The Frenchman suggested that Perez was more comfortable with the balance of the car at the beginning of the year in comparison to the Dutchman, but lost confidence in it to compete at the same level towards the end of the season.

Explaining the slowdown in the Mexican's performance, Waché said:

“I think it is multiple factors but the main factor is clearly the car balance and the confidence with a car, compared to the beginning of the year when the car was a little bit more balanced for him and a little bit less for Max. And after the potential of development we put on the car during the season, (to) move away from that, is maybe part of it. And after, finding a right set-up for him, it is quite difficult, to put him as confident as he could be to beat, or to fight with Max.”

Further shedding light on the difference between the performance of both drivers, the Red Bull technical director said:

“I think it’s an overall aspect, as you say. The weight is an aspect, for sure, but it's part of the set-up of the car. At the beginning of the season, we didn't have the possibility to move the weight, then it's part of the set-up. I think it’s everything together and after you find your performance somewhere, and it’s a little bit more tricky to set up the car. It went in the favour of Max. I think he's able to drive any car. Now we have to find a way to give a car for Sergio to be performing and to compete. But you know, it’s a together aspect.”

The Red Bull RB18 initially had a lot of oversteer, which tends to suit Perez’s style of driving, while Verstappen prefers a more stable and pointy front end. As the car got stripped of its excessive weight through the developmental curve of the season, however, the Dutchman was able to extract more performance from the car compared to the Mexican.

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Edited by Anurag C