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Red Bull Racing

Will Red Bull win every race in the 2023 F1 season?

Red Bull's strong start to 2023 has everyone wondering the same thing: could they really do the impossible and win every race this year?

Verstappen Perez
Analysis
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

It is a claim trotted out whenever any Formula 1 team enjoys a start to the season as dominant as Red Bull have in 2023: "Can they win every race?"

After five races, they have four 1-2 results, four pole positions, four fastest laps and have dropped just 11 points in the Constructors' standings.

Their pace advantage over the field is frightening, with no-one else able to master the tricks of the RB19 and have one of the very best to ever sit in a Grand Prix car joined by one of the strongest number twos around driving the thing.

If we take F1 as the main domestic league in which Red Bull are competing, they are seeking to emulate the Juventus and Barcelona Women's teams, the New Zealand and England Men's Rugby Union squads or indeed the Miami Dolphins, who won every game in the 1972 season on their way to Super Bowl success.

It is perhaps the ultimate achievement, one that was nearly completed by McLaren in 1988 with their 15 wins from 16 races. Red Bull obviously can win every race this year, but will they?

NOTE: For the purposes of this article, Sprint races will be discounted from the discussion, with only the Grand Prix counting – although Red Bull will probably win all six of those Sprint events as well...

A lack of competition

After the Bahrain season-opener, when winner Max Verstappen finished 38.6 seconds ahead of third-placed Fernando Alonso, Mercedes driver George Russell made the astonishing prediction that Red Bull would win every race, based on just pre-season testing and that first Grand Prix.

Simply put, it's the best chance anyone has had since Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost nearly took the clean-sweep – and they will take some stopping.

The first major reason why it is possible for Red Bull is a lack of serious, sustained competition against Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Take the last three races, for example, in Australia, Azerbaijan and Miami: in each of those a different team has been Red Bull's closest challenger, namely Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin respectively.

As these three teams continue to fight amongst themselves for second place in the Constructors', it opens a path for Red Bull to capitalise. They will spend more time trying to beat each other than looking forwards and beginning to try and reel Milton Keynes' finest in.

If one team could break away and channel their focus ahead as opposed to looking over their shoulder, it would give Red Bull something to think about, but such a step in-season is rare, with the RB19 almost a second clear in race pace.

Mercedes and Ferrari have dropped the ball and, as far as they are concerned, 2023 is over. They are not getting into position this year to challenge Red Bull, with attention already on the W15 and whatever name Ferrari come up with for 2024.

That leaves Aston Martin, which is still a 'young' team when operating at the sharpest end of Grand Prix racing, even with Alonso in the AMR23.

Of all the challengers, Alonso is the most likely to grab a victory away from Verstappen or Perez. He is very optimistic of Aston's chances at circuits like Monaco, Hungaroring or Singapore, but should he be in a position, would he really risk contact and throw away a nailed-on podium finish to try and go for a win?

He'd try, but the wily Alonso would know better and not risk second place in the Constructors' for his team.

What's the point?

It would surely take one of the biggest implosions in sporting history from Red Bull to stop them winning the 2023 Constructors' Championship.

As such, what are the closest challengers going to try and do? Waste resource, time and money in trying to catch them or putting all of that into 2024 (when Red Bull will be more impacted by the cost cap penalty), using the lessons learnt to right some of the wrongs in the car concept.

Mercedes are already cooling talk over their much-vaunted upgrade package for Imola, with it now set to simply get them pointing in the right direction as opposed to carving chunks of performance out of Red Bull.

Ferrari are still in a muddle with the SF-23, with both teams either being forced to switch to a new concept or stick with trying to figure out what is wrong with their current one.

With Mercedes getting ready for a Red Bull-esque concept, they still have to learn how to extract the most performance from it. Red Bull have the best part of 18 months nailing the ground effect regulations, while Mercedes have been lurching from a flawed concept to doubling down on it to realising revolution is needed.

That will take time to understand and won't come in 2023.

So, why won't they?

It will take an extraordinary amount of luck for Red Bull to win every Grand Prix.

The car can be as dominant as the RB19 is, but at the end of the day, it will not be car or driver performance that decides if Red Bull do ultimately make history. It will be down to cold, hard luck, although they certainly are capable of getting it right 23 times this year.

But fate usually has a way of throwing a freak curveball in.

Take Hungary 2021 and the race start, when Valtteri Bottas turned his Mercedes into a bowling ball and took out Perez, with Verstappen nearly joining.

Getting caught up in others' accidents is a huge threat to Red Bull's chances of the sweep. They can do their job to the best of their ability, but if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on the track, the record would have to wait.

There is also Red Bull's reliability record, having suffered a failure for Verstappen in Saudi Arabia qualifying. If it can happen in qualifying, it can happen during a race and this is the biggest obstacle to the team creating F1 history.

If it happens in qualifying, as Verstappen showed in Saudi and Perez in Australia, the inherent pace advantage over the field over the RB19 make it obvious the driver will recover and likely storm back to a minimum of second, providing the other has had a healthy weekend and is out front leading.

But there are no second chances in a Grand Prix. If it breaks, you're out.

As for races where those curveballs are most likely to appear, the two most likely contenders are Monaco and Sao Paulo.

Verstappen is not a fan of street tracks, while Perez is arguably at his strongest when racing on them, but a revved-up Alonso or Lewis Hamilton or Charles Leclerc could nail a pole lap in the principality – and, as we all know, pole in Monaco is three-quarters of the battle won.

As for Interlagos, it is a race where funny things can happen. In 2022, the team got their set-up wrong and finished sixth and seventh.

In 2019, a late race Safety Car bunched the field up and caused chaos and, when it rains, it really rains. If Red Bull can win in Monaco and get through to Brazil with their record still intact, they will do the impossible, given that a street circuit and Abu Dhabi – where they've won in the last three seasons – round out the season.

The cost cap

One thing important to know about Red Bull's 2021 cost cap breach and the penalty incurred is that the effects of it won't show their teeth until later in the 2023 season.

As the championships in 2022 were wrapped up effectively before the summer break, development could be poured into the 2023 RB19 before news of the breach was revealed and the penalty in terms of development time imposed.

It means the launch-spec of the RB19 and perhaps first upgrade package were designed before the aero development deduction came into force.

As the penalty bites over the course of 2023, the other teams will edge closer, but seeing as the gap is so vast, even a step of half-a-second is unlikely to change much, given the chasm that currently exists between Red Bull and the rest.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

What does Horner say?

Predictably, when asked about the team's chances of being challenged in 2023 after victory in Miami, boss Christian Horner was keen to play things down.

"You can never write anybody off," he told media, including RacingNews365.com.

"It's been the best start we've had and we feel that we've made a good step from RB18 into 19, but that's the kind of stuff you would expect.

"It is more that others have lost ground – and I'm sure they're working hard to address that, so the big gains could come quite quick.

"Until mathematically things are done, [it is not over and it is] still a long long way away, but we've got a great car and a great team.

"We've got two great drivers this year, but let's reserve judgment until after we see what [Mercedes and Ferrari] turn out in Imola and Barcelona."

Since the adoption of ground effects, Red Bull have only really lost two races out of 28 on pure pace and performance – Austria and Sao Paulo in 2022.

Two of the three other defeats came in early 2022 when they were grappling with reliability issues and the other, at Silverstone, was after Verstappen ran over a piece of AlphaTauri debris, blocking the underbody tunnels so vital in creating downforce.

What was that about freak curveballs being lobbed into things?

2023 is the best chance any team has had since McLaren of completing the clean-sweep, and the sharp operational race and class-leading engineering team that is Red Bull are more than capable of rising to the challenge.

There are moments in elite sport when you have to capitalise on the opportunity of a lifetime that presents itself. This is the moment for Red Bull.

After all, surely Mercedes and Ferrari can't be as bad as they are this year in 2024?

Do you think Red Bull will win every Grand Prix in the 2023 season? Let us know in the poll below and in the comments section!

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Miami Grand Prix.

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