Adrian Newey talks about the domination of Red Bull RB18 in 2022 F1 season, while adding about one key factor in hybrid era.
A lot of success for Red Bull over the years is down to its technical guru Newey. His designs have crossed the finishing line first on 193 occasions with several championships too. He knows his stuff from his early days at Leyton House, through his time with Williams and then McLaren.
He has been a mainstay of Red Bull since 2006. There for the halcyon period and glory days from 2010 to 2013 when Sebastian Vettel took four world titles. Fast forward eight years and Max Verstappen triumphed in the duel in the desert 12 months ago. A back to back drivers title has since ensued plus their first constructors title in almost a decade.
Not just that, they did in style by winning a record 17 races, domination of sorts despite the pace shown by Ferrari. Having paid second fiddle to Mercedes for almost a decade, this years Red Bull RB18 has been in a proverbial league of its own despite the reliability issues at the start of season.
But even with the success of the 2021 season, Red Bull themselves must have been surprised with the performance in 2022, coupled with the new rules. Their concept seemingly worked with the new regulation with the only trouble of being overweight which they managed to claw down after the first races.
“Statistically, obviously, RB18 has been our best car,” said Newey. “It’s a car I think we can be very proud of in as much as we had a tight championship battle through 2021, and arguably we put too much resource into that, so you’re not putting it into this brand new car with the new regulations we knew were coming. It’s a difficult balancing act”.
“We focused on trying to get the fundamentals right, including front and rear suspension, the layers, and the radiators. We kind of struggled a little bit with the bounce (porpoising) in pre-season testing. We’d already done a little bit of research and knew roughly what we needed to do to improve it, so when we put the race package on in Bahrain, that catapulted us from definitely behind Ferrari to broadly level”.
“After that, it was a matter of developing it and certainly the second half, we had a fully competitive package,” summed up Newey while reflecting on how they got together the dominant RB18 ready after a heavy 2021 season and a budget cap situation.
Ferrari of course were the kings early on in the 2022 season. They played a bit of catch up in the Mercedes domination of the hybrid era also. But that decade of Brackley domination would of course have got Red Bull to sit up and take notice of (a) the monopoly of success for Mercedes and (b) try to learn from and see how best to match or better them.
The key difference in this era has been the hybrid engine where Mercedes certainly got the best of the pack followed by Ferrari and Renault in the early part. But over the course, Honda has caught up well with all the three and could even be matching the German manufacturer if not outpacing them.
“Have a decent engine,” said Newey when asked about the key part of success in this era. “We went into the hybrid era, and Renault got it wrong, so that was pretty depressing because you realised that in your foreseeable future if you do a spectacular job, you might snatch the odd win, but you’re never going to win a championship”.
“That was a reset. I think one of the strengths of the team is that we put our heads down and got through that period so that when once we had a good power unit again with a partnership with Honda, we were able to respond,” summed up Newey.
The bottom line for Red Bull in 2022 was team work, from the ground up the whole team worked tirelessly and effortlessly and got the job done with the team of Christian Horner and Newey leading them well, while Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez did their job.
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