Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has hinted that he’s unconcerned by rival sides catching up after only bringing “little performance” upgrades since the summer break.

Having won 10 of the last 11 races of 2022, Red Bull have extended its competitive advantage with an evolution of last year’s car to prevail victorious in all but one round.

Red Bull were able to wrap up the Constructors’ title with a record-breaking six rounds to spare, helped by the chasing pack behind continuously exchanging places.

But the Austrian outfit have regularly been pipped in qualifying lately and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton came within 2.2s of beating Max Verstappen on-track in Austin.

However, Horner has downplayed Red Bull’s reduced margin, pointing out that the team ceased development on the RB19 early due to its reduced wind tunnel allowance.

Asked to assess the threat posed by Red Bull’s competitors, Horner said: “Well, it keeps moving around. And of course, you have to remember that since the summer break, we’ve really added very little performance, if anything, to the car.

“With the wind tunnel restrictions that we’ve had, we’ve elected to use that on RB20, next year’s car as opposed to continuing the development on RB19. And that’s not to say, whatever we do now, we don’t learn and apply for next year but we’ve managed to be consistent at a whole variance of circuits.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates winning his third World Championship in Sprint parc ferme with Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal and Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer. 07.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Sprint Day.

Along with being entitled to the least aerodynamic testing time due to its status as champions, Red Bull’s allocation was hit further for breaching the 2021 cost cap.

Although that additional reduction has recently expired, Horner believes the penalty, which he described as “draconian” at the time, will be more evident down the line.

“Certainly, you’ve not seen the full impact yet because it obviously has compromised the amount of development that we’ve been able to do this year and we’ve had to apply… Thankfully, we came out with a very strong car at the beginning of the year and we’ve been able to apply most of that development time, from quite early in the season, to next year’s car,” Horner explained.

While Red Bull’s 2023 car has only been beaten in Singapore, Horner insists that the squad can’t rest on its laurels despite its unprecedented period of success.

“The days you lose, as long as you’re prepared to accept the lessons are the days that you learn the most,” he admitted. “And I think that you’re always learning, the races that you win there are always things that you can do better.

“So even the analysis out of last weekend [United States GP] of… we were very strong on Saturday, our opponents were close to us on Sunday, and there’s some mitigating circumstances surrounding that now.

“So you can never rest on your laurels. You’ve got to keep looking forward. You’ve got to keep pushing, you’ve got to keep looking forwards because for sure, everybody behind you is.”

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