The Formula One constructors’ world championship is by definition a team effort but rarely has one driver played such a dominant role in securing it as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in 2023.
The Dutch driver’s comfortable victory from pole position in Japan on Sunday made sure of the team title with six races to spare.
Suzuka, the home track of engine partners Honda in their 75th anniversary year, was an entirely fitting place to celebrate.
It surprised nobody to see that the team had their title T-shirts ready to wear immediately after the chequered flag.
Red Bull are going through a golden moment, operating on a higher plane than ever and enjoying a new level of success. Their sixth constructor’s title was one all rivals had given up on long ago.
It was Verstappen’s 13th win of a season spent rewriting records, with the champion taking an unprecedented 10 in a row until the stumble in Singapore last weekend, and Red Bull’s 15th in 16 races.
It was also Red Bull’s 25th win out of 27 and Verstappen’s 28th from 38 races since the start of last season.
Looking at it differently, Red Bull have been beaten only twice in the last 12 months.
This season the Dutch driver has added 400 points to Red Bull’s tally of 623 — a personal score 95 more than second-placed Mercedes have managed with two drivers and also more than the total of the bottom six teams.
“It’s been the most amazing race for us, the most amazing year,” said team boss Christian Horner, whose team won four title doubles in a row between 2010-13 and another last season.
“The kind of season that we have had is just testimony to all the effort that goes in behind the scenes, from all the different departments and the crazy hours that they work,” he added.
“There’s just so many people that form what is the best team that we’ve ever had.
“Without them we wouldn’t be able to produce a car like we’ve done and then obviously Max has just taken that and destroyed the rest of the field with it.”
Red Bull are sure to take another title double this year, with only Perez remaining in contention but now 177 points adrift after failing to finish on Sunday.
The pair have finished first and second on six occasions this year.
“I don’t think any of us could have ever envisaged (in 2005) what lay ahead of us,” Horner told reporters earlier in the week.
“Within 19 seasons to have achieved what we have has been a phenomenal journey so far. But it’s never a question about looking back. It’s always a question of looking forward.”
For the team that means preparing for a new engine era, with Red Bull building their own powertrain from 2026 in a technical partnership with Ford.
“It’s been quite a journey, and hopefully a few more chapters to go,” said Horner.
“I think success only spurs all aspects of the business to do better.
“And of course, when you’ve got a driver like Max Verstappen, that just adds that added motivation that nobody wants to let the team down.”