Red Bull’s Chief Designer, Adrian Newey, has revealed that the team’s preparation for the 2022 campaign was not as thorough as it would have liked, but their unorthodox philosophy ultimately paid off.
Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the title last season after a mammoth fight, and as Red Bull and Mercedes did battle for both championships, their focus on this year was put on the backburner.
As a result, work in Milton Keynes ahead of this campaign was centred around the basics, and as someone who has now designed 11 Constructors’ Championship winning cars, and 12 that have led a driver to individual success, this is something Newey has a fairly good handle on.
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From there, the development battle against Ferrari was crucial, and Red Bull got it right. Verstappen strolled to a successful title defence, while Sergio Perez helped Red Bull to a fifth teams’ success, so the plan, despite a disrupted off-season, worked.
“We had quite a short development period, particularly because we kept developing last year’s car in the battle for the championship, arguably longer than we should have done,” Newey told Autosport at the Autosport Awards.
“That gave us a lot to do over the winter. What we tried to focus on was getting the fundamentals of the car right as this year’s car, and then hoping that would give us the development potential to kind of refine it. That’s fortunately how it panned out.”
Charles Leclerc won two of the opening three races for Ferrari, but after just one win a piece thereafter for himself and team-mate, Carlos Sainz, the Italian side was soundly beaten by Red Bull.
Mistakes on the pit wall may have played a role in the championship outcome, but Red Bull’s terrific development is not to be overlooked either.
“In reality, Ferrari, in pre-season, were probably quicker,” explained Newey.
“We had a very good, effective first race upgrade. That made it very close, and then it was really a tight battle early on. Ferrari were quicker in some races, we were quicker in others.
“We learned from that and tried to make a well-rounded car for the second half of the season, to make sure that it worked on all circuits. I think we all collectively did a decent job there.”