A “new era” of dominance is shaping up in Formula 1, according to former driver Ralf Schumacher.
He is talking about Red Bull, and the fact that new back-to-back world champion Max Verstappen now appears poised to dominate the current rules era – perhaps all the way to 2025.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc hopes not.
“I will do everything for it to not happen and we are working as a team for it to not happen obviously,” he said after Austin.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, a seven time world champion, answered to the same question: “If we get into next year and they’re dominating again, then yes.
“But the Ferraris have been quicker than them throughout qualifying, so all they need to do is pick up their race pace and they’ll be right with them.
“I think we’ve got a much, much bigger step and steeper hill to climb, but hopefully not impossible.”
Ralf Schumacher, however, thinks that given Red Bull’s momentum and the constraints of the budget cap era, the energy drink owned team could now utterly dominate.
“Now Red Bull can shape a new era,” he told Sky Deutschland.
“That’s a bit of a problem in Formula 1, because once the lead is there with the cost cap also in place, it’s difficult for the other teams to catch up again.
“But I have hope that Ferrari can make life much more difficult for Red Bull next year and Mercedes is also on the rise again. But in 2023, Red Bull will definitely be the team to beat.”
2016 world champion Nico Rosberg agrees that it will “definitely” be “very difficult for any other team to get close to” Red Bull in the near future.
One hope for Red Bull’s rivals is that the penalty for breaching the 2021 budget cap is severe enough to dent the momentum.
“I think there is already a deal between Red Bull and the FIA and it will be presented on Wednesday or Thursday,” correspondent Erik van Haren told De Telegraaf.
“I expect a fine and a reduction in wind tunnel time for next season. That is quite a punishment for them, as the constructors’ champion already has the least time in the wind tunnel, so with a penalty on top of that it can be a big disadvantage.”
As for Aston Martin, having been found in ‘procedural’ breach of the budget cap, team boss Mike Krack said he expects a resolution “in the next few days”.