F1 legends speak: Tumult at Red Bull & Red Bull’s rising fortunes

Rene Arnoux, a veteran from Ferrari’s illustrious past in the 1980s, has offered a compelling perspective on the potential repercussions of Red Bull Racing’s current internal discord on the Formula 1 championship battle in 2024.

Arnoux, who is now 75, remarked on Ferrari’s robust performance at the season’s outset. “They are much closer to Red Bull,” he disclosed to La Gazzetta dello Sport, adding, “Not quite at Red Bull’s level, but almost. But also true is that Red Bull only has one car at the front, because (Sergio) Perez is a number two – sometimes even number 3! He often disappears.”

The recent race in Melbourne saw Max Verstappen encounter his first mechanical failure in two years, with a malfunctioning rear brake, sparking speculation among enthusiasts and experts alike that Red Bull’s recent off-track controversies, including a power struggle within its management and a scandal involving Christian Horner, might have had a destabilizing effect.

Arnoux expressed his allegiance to Ferrari but wished for an end to the upheaval at Red Bull. “I am for Ferrari,” he confessed, “but first of all I hope that the mess and intrigue at Red Bull is over, because I want to see a real duel. I don’t want Ferrari to beat them because of things like that. On the other hand, I hope they can at least fight for the constructors’ title, also because Perez does not operate at a very high level. In fact, I think that if Ferrari doesn’t have any major problems this season, they almost have a better chance now than Red Bull.”

The Frenchman also highlighted the significant influence of Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari’s team principal, hinting that the driver’s championship might well be within reach, especially with a countryman like Vasseur steering the team. “If he continues like this,” Arnoux stated, referring to Sainz, “I think he can get more wins soon, and if he gets more wins, I don’t see why he shouldn’t go for the championship.”

When quizzed about the impact of French leadership at Ferrari, akin to Jean Todt’s tenure, Arnoux quipped, “I don’t know if that’s right, but it’s a tradition I like. I was very lucky in my career to have not driven for an English team. Of course, I’m joking. In a short time, he (Vasseur) has made optimal use of the existing regulations. He showed that he values his staff and that he can strengthen them. Slowly but surely he gains tenths on the track. Above all, I see him solving many of the problems he has encountered so far.”

GMM

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