Is F1 too boring now?: Experts weigh in on Verstappen’s domination

Max Verstappen’s overwhelming success in the 2023 Formula 1 season, marked by 19 wins out of 22 races, has ignited debate about the state of competition in the sport. However, opinions within the F1 community vary, as highlighted by two influential figures: Jake Dennis, a key F1 simulator driver for Red Bull, and Joan Villadelprat, a respected former engineer and manager with experience at Ferrari and McLaren.

Dennis, speaking to DAZN, provided insights into Red Bull’s preparations for the 2024 season. “I can confirm that the RB20 is going well in the simulator,” he said. “The car should be quite good. We should be fine for next year,” he added, smiling. This statement suggests that Red Bull’s dominance might continue, potentially dampening hopes for a more competitive season.

Contrasting the perspective of average fans with those deeply involved in F1, Villadelprat shared his views with Spain’s AS sports newspaper. “The opinion of the average fan is that the season has been boring because the same guy always won,” he acknowledged. However, he urged a different outlook: “But for the people who are involved in this world, or those of us who have worked for many decades in F1, what we should do is congratulate Red Bull for the extraordinary work they have done and Max for his excellent driving.”

Villadelprat emphasized the need for other teams to strive harder rather than complain about Red Bull’s victories. He highlighted the disparity between Verstappen and his teammate, Sergio Perez, calling Verstappen’s superiority “total.” “Perez had some good moments, but he also made quite a few mistakes,” he noted, adding that the car’s development being focused on Verstappen’s style played a role.

Drawing parallels between Verstappen and Michael Schumacher, Villadelprat, who worked closely with Schumacher, praised Verstappen’s ambition and hunger for victory. “Schumacher was always my great reference as a champion… And Max is very close to Michael,” he said. He noted similarities in their mentalities, ambition, and physical preparedness, setting them apart from other drivers like Senna, who, despite his natural talent, often faced physical exhaustion.

Looking ahead to 2024, Villadelprat is optimistic that Verstappen’s rivals will close the gap, citing the stable regulations and the learning curve for teams that are currently behind. He also touched on the struggles of Ferrari, his former team, attributing their challenges to a lack of patience and frequent changes in leadership. He lamented the departure of Mattia Binotto, whom he saw as a stabilizing force, and criticized the decision to replace him with Frederic Vasseur, fearing it would lead to another period of rebuilding.

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