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Red Bull: 20kg weight purge for "cut and shut" RB19 was key to F1 2023 dominance

Red Bull believes a 20kg weight purge for its "cut and shut" RB19 car was key to the scale of its Formula 1 dominance this year.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Milton Keynes-based squad was in a class of its own throughout the 2023 season, winning 21 out of 22 races on its way to capturing both the constructors' championship crown and the drivers' title with Max Verstappen.

While its rivals focused their efforts on trying to work out why Red Bull's car was so good, the squad has suggested that central to it was weight.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has explained that, with much of the car actually being a carryover from the RB18, the biggest step change was cutting out excess bulk that had left it overweight throughout 2022.

Asked by Autosport if Red Bull understood why the RB19 was so dominant, Horner said: "What you have to remember is that with the RB19, there were a large number of components that came from the RB18: gearbox, a large percentage of the suspension, and half of the chassis. It was effectively a cut-and-shut for this year.

"The most significant thing that we were able to address was the weight. We were so late going on to the new regs in 2021, because of that championship battle [the previous year] that the car in 2022 was a bit on the chunky side.

"So, we managed to get 20 kilos out of the car coming into this year, and tidy up some of the imperfections.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

"But there were a great many carryover parts and some of the components have actually won, in Max's case, 19 races this year and 15 last year, so the combination of the two: 34 races."

Horner believes that the weight reduction was the biggest step between the RB18 and the RB19, as he said improvements had been found in all areas.

"It was a little bit everywhere," he said. "It was not one specific area that you could take the weight off. It was just marginal gains in all areas.

"I think that was probably the fundamental difference between the 2022 car and the 2023 car."

Pushed on whether the RB19 progress pointed to Red Bull having been 20kg overweight on its way to the 2022 crown, Horner said: "Yeah. We were carrying that deficit for a large percentage of the year."

The one that got away

While the RB19 proved to be one of the most dominant cars in F1 history, it failed to get the clean sweep of all race wins due to defeat in Singapore.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Looking back at what happened that weekend, Horner said that the team had been led down the wrong path in Friday practice by simulation predictions.

"I think that that race just brings everything into reality, that I think quite often we made winning look easy this year," he said. "Winning is never easy.

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"I think that race just bought it home that if you miss the target, it's small margins. Set-up wise, we arrived with a set-up that our simulation tools led us down the route of, and it just didn't work on that circuit, on that day, particularly in qualifying.

"In the race the pace started to come back to us. But I think if we'd have known what we knew after the event going into the event, we would have been in a much more competitive position."

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