SF1 champions Red Bull Racing have so far dominated the 2023 season. It has has seen their rivals scrambling for answers from race to race in an attempt to close the gap.
The year has not been short of unpredictable outcomes and entertaining storylines. However, predicting the race winning team has so far not proven to be a difficult task.
Where many expected the field to condense, Red Bull have taken a huge step forward in performance.
As a result, they now find themselves in a position to complete a season clean sweep, an accolade that is yet to be claimed in the sport’s history.
Here, we discuss the likelihood of the team being able to claim the season’s remaining race victories.
The size of Red Bull’s pace advantage
The pace advantage of the RB19 has been evident by some of the winning margins achieved so far in their 12 victories.
In particular, Max Verstappen has been able to consistently take the flag with a lead in excess of 20 seconds to the nearest competitor.
There had been rumours of potential stumbling blocks throughout the season which could pose a threat to their perfect year – one being the Monaco Grand Prix.
However, with this event navigated despite mid race rain and a challenge from Fernando Alonso, the target appears to becoming more and more realistic with every weekend.
Verstappen eventually claimed victory by 27 seconds on the shortest and highest risk circuit of the year. This achievement truly underlined the car’s peak levels of performance.
With Max in seamless form, he only adds to argument that Red Bull could stop their rivals from taking the chequered flag at any race this season.
The Potential Threats
As ever in Formula 1, there are no foregone conclusions. Reliability, driver mistakes, weather and strategic errors can quickly put pain to an excellent result.
Red Bull have been near flawless in terms of their car’s reliability. However, the team must still navigate the longest season to date which has the potential to put strain on the engine and gearbox.
This is something very much beyond the control of the team, as a failure can occur at any time, putting an end to a magnificent run.
This season has also thrown up many surprises in terms of weather, with rain affecting a number of Grand Prix’s so far.
The drivers and team will need to ensure they stay vigilant should such a scenario arise. A lapse in concentration is often more costly in wet conditions.
The chasing pack’s challenge
Throughout the first half of the season, Red Bull have been completely out of reach on pure pace.
Fernando Alonso initially threatened to challenge at the front. From Monaco onwards, this challenge has faltered, along with the pace of the Aston Martin.
Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc are the only non-Red Bull drivers to manage a pole position this season. Despite this, the pair lacked the pace to maintain the lead on race day.
Last season, Mercedes did manage to claim a victory in the latter stages of the season. They were able to capitalise on their rivals changing their development focus to the following season’s car.
This may present an opportunity for Red Bull’s rivals to steal a victory in the twilight of the F1 season. A new venue in Las Vegas is an unknown for all of the teams. It could pose a threat to the perfect record. .
There is no doubting that the team’s motivation to achieve this will be high. They will therefore be difficult to stop on pure pace alone and may only be halted by external factors.
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Next: familiarise yourself with some of the other stand-out performers from the first half of the 2023 season.