Max Verstappen’s F1 Dominance Could Be Hurting the Sport

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read


No team and driver combination has ever dominated Formula 1 in the way that Red Bull and Max Verstappen did in 2023.

Even Michael Schumacher’s five-season championship streak between 2000-2004 at Ferrari hardly compares, says one former team boss.

“Ferrari’s dominance was at a time when F1 was much less competitive than it is now,” former Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul told French media outlet Franceinfo. “Ferrari dominated with budgets and a structure that had nothing to do with the other teams.

“Sure, Red Bull is a prestigious team that is very well organized and financed, but it is not the only one. Yet they dominate in an environment where others are not weak,” the Frenchman added.

It’s tough to argue the numbers. Schumacher won 48 of 85 races (.564 winning percentage during his five-year run), while Verstappen has won 44 of 66 races (.667) during his three-year run. Verstappen has also landed on the podium an incredible 56 times in 66 races (.848).

Should the 26-year-old Verstappen put together a couple more seasons like he did in 2023, and he could challenge to become F1’s all-time wins leader before he’s 30 years old. He has 54 wins and is 49 shy of Lewis Hamilton’s record of 103.

Abiteboul says the way Verstappen won at the end of the last regulations cycle in 2021 and then followed it up with two more increasingly-dominant title victories in 2023 and 2023 was particularly impressive.

“When there is a change in regulations, we can have a team which has worked particularly well and found a trick,” said Abiteboul, 46. “But here in 2023, the regulations were already known. So the other teams should have become more competitive.”

One of the secrets to Red Bull’s success, he argues, is personnel stability at the very top – headed by team principal Christian Horner, engineering whiz Adrian Newey and even sporting boss Jonathan Wheatley.

“They know each other by heart,” Abiteboul says. “And they are formidable,” he added, even though he had a fractious relationship with Red Bull at times during its Renault-powered era.”

But the obvious key to the utter dominance of 2023, Abiteboul argues, was Dutchman Verstappen, who even put Sergio Perez’s place beside him in peril by managing to score only half of his teammate’s points tally.

“Max is exceptional,” he says. “But Perez is far from being a rookie or a junior. He did his best, but he suffered from the fact that Max has a very special way of driving, with a car with a very light rear axle.

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Former Renault F1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul says there is a concern that Max Verstappen’s utter dominance could ultimately hurt interest in the sport.

ANDREJ ISAKOVIC//Getty Images

“There is no doubt that it’s Max Verstappen’s car—designed for him. He is pampered in this team. Very good drivers like Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon were also his teammates and also did not succeed in driving that car. He (Max) has psychological influence and such a great car. But the ease with which he overtakes is because the other drivers don’t even fight him. They know they can’t race him. So rather than wearing out their tires to hold him back, they just let him pass.”

Despite Verstappen’s dominance, and a reportedly 20% TV audience drop in the German market,

Abiteboul warns that continuing Verstappen dominance could start to hurt F1 eventually.

“It’s a championship that has remarkable commercial dynamics, because it brings new things every year like Las Vegas,” he said. “There are many other interests than first place in the drivers’ championship.

“If this situation were to drag on for too long, it would pose problems, but I would be surprised if the dominance we have seen this season continues into next season. By the time of the next rule change in 2026, Red Bull will face more competition.”

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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