2023 will be remembered as the Formula 1 season of Red Bull’s staggering dominance. With a winning percentage of 95.5%, Red Bull has etched its name in the record books, leaving rivals pondering over the mountainous task ahead.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff aptly describes the challenge as the “Mt Everest” of racing, acknowledging the herculean task of chasing down triple consecutive world champion Max Verstappen. This sentiment is echoed by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who observed, “Red Bull won (in Abu Dhabi) by 17 seconds and they haven’t touched the car since August. So you can pretty well imagine where they will be next year.”
While confidence is high within the Red Bull camp, former F1 driver Timo Glock notes a stark contrast at Mercedes, saying, “I still see a lot of uncertainty at Mercedes.” Glock, quoted by Speed Week, adds, “But it would be nice if they and the other teams could get closer to Max Verstappen so that things are much more exciting again in Formula 1.”
Ferrari’s team boss, Frederic Vasseur, offers a more hopeful outlook than Wolff. Reflecting on the season, Vasseur said, “Until five months ago, the Red Bull was on another planet. Well, today they weren’t on another planet. We struggled at least until the central part of the season, but in the last 7, 8 races we performed very well. So there’s no need to upset our plans now.”
Glock agrees with Hamilton’s assessment about Red Bull’s early shift in focus to the 2024 car. “They were in the comfortable situation of having already gained such a lead with Max halfway through the year that they were able to concentrate on the 2024 car very early,” he said, noting the strategic advantage this gave Red Bull. “The people there knew exactly in which direction the concept needed to be developed.”
Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s team advisor, credits consistency for their success: “We were at the top in every race and the competition was never consistent – not Ferrari, not Mercedes.” Looking to 2024, he notes, “The regulations are at least remaining stable. The engines can only be improved in terms of reliability. For the chassis, we will see an evolution of the existing cars. And our car was fast on all tracks this year and we were always able to make optimal use of the tyres in a wide variety of conditions.” He remains cautiously optimistic about Red Bull’s chances: “It will definitely be tighter. But as long as no one manages to challenge us consistently, I still think we have a good chance. We also have Max at the absolute top level. Almost scarily,” Marko concludes.