Christian Horner is confident that Red Bull has become stronger in the last few seasons, despite the departure of senior personnel such as Dan Fallows.
Whilst Formula 1 is renowned for its ‘silly season’ regarding the driver market, there is a growing interest in the technical changes between teams as they battle for an edge over their rivals.
Aston Martin is the most obvious recent example of a team unlocking huge performance by investing in recruitment to attract the best minds from rival teams.
Dan Fallows and Eric Blandin are the two main targets acquired by the Silverstone squad in recent years, with Aston Martin successfully convincing Red Bull and Mercedes several employees to join their new project.
Although the AMR23 cannot be solely attributed to these changes, it goes without saying that Lawrence Stroll’s aggressive push for an improved technical department has been key to his team’s success.
Christian Horner has made several comments to poke fun at Aston Martin’s 2023 challenger, implying that the influence of former Red Bull personnel has been critical in the team’s early success this year.
Despite the somewhat juvenile nature of these comments, the Red Bull team principal is understandably happy with his team’s evolution and efficiency.
The RB19 has established itself as the car to beat in 2023, giving the Austrian squad a comfortable lead in both the drivers and constructors’ standings.
Horner believes that, despite losing several senior technicians and engineers, Red Bull is now in an even stronger position:
“In the UK, you’ve got seven teams within probably a 50-mile radius. So inevitably, there’s going to be competition,” the Red Bull boss told Sky Sports.
“We’ve had a very low turnover of staff in our history at Red Bull, and it’s great that we’ve been given a chance to develop and achieve great things.
“When they go to other teams, I’m pleased for Dan that he’s doing a good job, but his departure has given other engineers an opportunity, and everything’s an evolution.
“The team we have now is even stronger than the one we had two years ago.”
Whilst Horner is not above making provocative comments to undermine his rivals, there is plenty of evidence to validate his claims that Red Bull has been unaffected by the departure of Dan Fallows – among others.
Even with the budget cap and wind tunnel restrictions (the full effect of which is yet to be seen), the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari have lost more ground to the reigning World Champions.
Red Bull has traditionally excelled in mid-season development, so it will be intriguing to observe whether they can continue their upward trajectory amidst a variety of limitations.
Mercedes and Ferrari both have underlying weaknesses that could impact their progression in 2023, so there is reason to believe that overturning the current deficit in performance could be beyond either of these teams.
Aston Martin’s improvements over the winter have been electric, but taking another step and fighting Red Bull for the title would arguably be closer to miraculous than impressive.
This is not to say that Red Bull is infallible, especially given their various reliability scares in the early races this season.
However, they have established far stronger foundations – in terms of concept – than their rivals, so the 2023 Championship is theirs to lose.