With the advent of Max Verstappen as world champion, Red Bull is looking to bring momentum to the 2022 season, which features the latest regulations in the sport. With Honda leaving F1 after 2021, however, the team had to make sure they were on track come their engine partner's final season. Reports suggest that the Japanese engine manufacturer had been working hard to make this happen, and the results show.
The team's fuel partner ExxonMobil has hailed Honda's "incredible" efforts to push through developments on its new engine in quick time, which in turn helped achieve Verstappen's maiden world title in 2021. The team fought back against the then seven-time constructors' champion Mercedes, whose Lewis Hamilton lost out on the drivers' championship in the season finale at Yas Marina.
When talking about the development advances made by the team, Tomek Young, the Global Motorsports Technology Manager for ExxonMobil, reflected on the passion that he saw in the garage and the factory. He said:
“It still gives me chills to think about these moments of working together. We had multiple engagements a week, constantly looking at data together, early in the morning, late at night – it was very exciting times.”
He also commented on the importance given by the team towards the 2021 overhaul, saying that it was close to a complete redesign:
“Going into 2021, the decision was made by Honda to re-engineer the engine; they didn’t start from scratch, but close to, really going [back] to the drawing board.”
Honda announced midway through 2020 of it's departure from F1 at the end of next season. This in turn sparked an ambitious effort to fast forward development on their Red Bull project for 2022, which will be the first time the latest regulations are put in place.
I fully believe I can be a world champion at Red Bull, says Sergio Perez
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez believes he can win a world championship with the team and added that the job is "very, very intense and challenging." The Mexican joined forces with Max Verstappen for the 2021 season after the team dropped Alex Albon. Known for his consistency and experience, Perez was the obvious choice for Red Bull, having been let go by Racing Point, now Aston Martin. He said:
“To me, at this stage in my career, the most important is I enjoy it, the time I don’t enjoy it will be the time I have to go home because I don’t need any more to be here. I am here because I fully believe I can be a world champion.”
Perez also said that he enjoys working with the team and feels great to be part of it. He played a crucial role in making sure Verstappen was safe from a double-pronged attack in the form of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, being the perfect teammate for the Dutchman on multiple occasions.