Red Bull’s Unbeaten Streak Ends: Lessons from Singapore and Hopes for 2024

Red Bull's Shocking Defeat at Singapore GP: What Went Wrong?

In a surprising turn of events at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, Red Bull’s unprecedented 15-race winning streak came to a screeching halt. Carlos Sainz, representing Ferrari, clinched the victory while Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, Red Bull’s star drivers, struggled to recover from a double Q2 exit in qualifying. This unexpected outcome left the Formula 1 world buzzing with questions about what went wrong for Red Bull. Christian Horner, the team principal, believes this setback provides invaluable lessons for their 2024 car, the RB20.

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The Shocking Defeat

Red Bull’s dominance in Formula 1 during the 2023 season had been nothing short of spectacular. However, the Singapore Grand Prix weekend exposed the vulnerability of their previously unbeaten RB19 car. Starting from 11th place on the grid, Max Verstappen could only manage a fifth-place finish, while Sergio Perez fought his way up to eighth from 13th position. It was evident that something had gone awry for the powerhouse team.

Identifying the Weaknesses

Red Bull’s troubles began to surface during the Friday practice sessions, where they struggled to match their competitors’ pace. Christian Horner admitted that their pre-race simulations had led them astray, putting the team in the wrong setup “window.” The result was a car that didn’t perform as expected, particularly over a single lap. However, as the race unfolded, they gained a better understanding of their issues, and the car’s pace improved.

Horner’s Take on the Race

Horner revealed, “We knew coming here we expected to have closer competition, but it took us a bit by surprise just how far off we were on Friday.” He explained that when a car is not in its optimal operating window, everything feels subpar, making it challenging to compete. Fortunately, as the race progressed, Max Verstappen’s pace improved significantly, hinting at the underlying potential of the RB19.

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Safety Car’s Untimely Arrival

One of the pivotal moments of the race was the deployment of the Safety Car on lap 20 after an incident involving Logan Sargeant’s Williams. This disrupted Red Bull’s strategy, which relied on Verstappen and Perez starting on hard tires to gain positions when their competitors pitted. However, the Safety Car allowed the leading cars to make “free” pit stops, and Red Bull’s drivers fell behind as a result.

Horner lamented, “The lap the Safety Car came out on was probably strategically the worst possible lap for the strategy that we were on.” Despite this setback, Verstappen and Perez demonstrated their skill by clawing their way back into contention, making up ten places each in the final stint.

Looking Ahead to Japan

Christian Horner remains optimistic about Red Bull’s prospects in the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix. He believes that the Singapore race was an anomaly due to the unique characteristics of the Marina Bay Street Circuit. He stated, “A completely different layout, completely different type of circuit, so hopefully we can be competitive in Japan.”

Verstappen echoed this sentiment, expressing confidence that they would be quick in Suzuka. Both Red Bull drivers are determined to bounce back and return to the front of the grid in Japan.

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A Season of Records

The 2023 season had been a record-breaking one for Red Bull, with Max Verstappen achieving a remarkable ten consecutive wins. While some speculated that the team could achieve a clean sweep of victories for the season, Christian Horner revealed that this had never been their expectation. He stated, “We never expected [a clean sweep]. There were still eight [now seven] races to go.” Horner expressed immense pride in the team’s achievements and acknowledged the significance of breaking records that had stood since 1988.


The Singapore Grand Prix served as a reality check for Red Bull Racing, ending their remarkable winning streak. However, it also provided essential insights into the weaknesses of their RB19 car, which they aim to address in the development of the RB20 for the 2024 season. With optimism for a strong performance in Japan, Red Bull remains committed to competing at the highest level in Formula 1, despite the challenges that occasionally arise in this fiercely competitive sport.

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