Several drivers from rival teams have claimed they aren’t concerned by the prospect of Red Bull’s current domination allowing it to switch focus early to its 2024 car.
Red Bull has continued where it left off last season by storming to victory in all 10 races to take place so far in the 2023 campaign.
The Austrian outfit’s status as reigning champions already entitles it to the least aerodynamic testing time of any side – but it also has an additional penalty for breaking the cost cap limit in 2021 to contend with.
But with Red Bull possessing virtually unassailable leads in both championships already, Horner recently revealed the Milton-Keynes squad has already begun turning attention towards the RB19’s successor.
However, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is not worried by the advantage that could hand Red Bull in 2024, stating the Italian side is continuing to invest development on its current car to ensure it avoids a repeat of the troubles its encountered this year.
“I’m not particularly worried, it’s part of the game, no?
“Whenever you have an edge in one season, then obviously the risk for the other teams is that this team is trying to take time in order to develop next year’s car. But, in the end, it’s quite linked, in a way.
“We are still mainly focussed on this year’s car because we’ve got clear weaknesses and we know that we need to address those, and when we will have addressed those, then it goes together: next year’s car will be much better – so, yeah.
“But again, what gives me confidence in this time is that we have a very clear plan in what we want to improve. We’ve already done steps forward in the last three races.
“There are many more things coming in the next races, in order to not only be in front of Mercedes and Aston [Martin] but to be fighting the Red Bulls as quickly as possible and we are on the right track, I’m sure.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes’ George Russell echoed Leclerc’s comments by highlighting how there is a period of stability embedded into the regulations for next year.
Asked if he thought there would be any advantage to Red Bull switching attention to 2024 prematurely, the Brit responded: “No, not really because I think with the stable regulations this year and next year, the car’s kind of roll into next season anyway.
“Obviously in 2021 when you’ve got this new big rule change there are concerns but this year we will finish with a car that will be an evolution into the following year’s car.”
Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton reckons the German marque is in a similar predicament to Ferrari and must continue to rectify the weaknesses of its W14.
“Not much more for me to add to that,” he said. “It’s very much the same.
“It wouldn’t be helpful for us to just stop working on this car and focus on next year’s car. We’ve got to utilise the time we have to track to develop the car that we have and fix those problems, just as Charles was saying.
“And I’m confident we will get there. It’s just a question of how long that will take.”