Christian Horner has downplayed widespread assertions that Red Bull’s huge points lead means it has already wrapped up both Formula 1 titles in 2023.
After winning both championships with several rounds to spare last season, the Austrian outfit has extended its competitive advantage over the rest to dominate all seven races to be held so far this year.
Red Bull has registered four one-two finishes during that flawless run to open up a seismic 135-point lead in the Constructors’ Championship. At the same time, Max Verstappen upholds a commanding 71-point gap to the closest non-Red Bull competitor, Fernando Alonso, in the Drivers’ standings.
However, Horner is not taking the reigning champion’s healthy position for granted, citing that Red Bull’s focus remains on approaching each round as it comes.
“You will always get somebody say something like that,” he said via Autosport. “Anything can happen. I think that both the championships are looking really healthy at the moment, our focus is now on Montreal, and that will be trying to get our 100th victory.
“After that it’ll be the home race in Austria, after that will be the other home race in Silverstone. It just rolls on, and you go from event to event and don’t allow yourself to be thinking too far down the line.”
Red Bull had previously won four successive title doubles between 2010-13, but the switch to V6 turbo-hybrid engines in 2014 saw it get swept aside by Mercedes.
While the German manufacturer embarked on a record-breaking run of claiming eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships, Red Bull was often left playing catch up and scraping for sporadic victories.
However, a slight tweak to the technical rules in 2021 enabled Verstappen to pip Lewis Hamilton to the Drivers’ crown, before Red Bull scooped both championships when the regulations were overhauled last year.
Amid Red Bull’s return to being the benchmark team in F1, Horner says it should not be understated the work put in behind the scenes in order to reverse its fortunes.
“We spent seven years trying to get back into a winning position, and losing hurts,” he declared. “I think that we’ve worked very hard to get into this position.
“I think the whole team as a unit, and it’s not just Max, it’s the whole team is just operating at such a high level that we have a phenomenal car.
“We’ve got two great drivers and Max is just continuing to evolve as a driver. He is just becoming more and more polished, and the capacity that he has within the car is truly impressive.”
Horner adds that the trying times the Red Bull camp encountered between its two spells at the top have made the team appreciate its current success even more.
“We are hugely proud of it,” he emphasised. “It just means that much more – we were there, then we were down, and then we fought back to being there again.
“Every member of the team has played such a crucial role in this performance, and F1 is one of the most competitive sports in the world and to be operating at the level that we are is something that you have to celebrate.”