NOVEMBER 10, 2023

Verstappen dominance the biggest risk to F1

Max Verstappen admits he could be in the running to match the achievements of the most successful drivers in Formula 1 history.

Red Rull team, Brazilian GP 2023
© Red Bull

The 26-year-old Dutchman's performance this season for his third consecutive drivers' title was nothing short of imperious - and arguably monotonous.

The fact that even the most ardent fans of Max Verstappen are showing signs of saturation is a sign of the future, De Limburger, a leading Dutch newspaper, declared this week.

And most informed insiders are expecting Red Bull to continue to lead the pack in 2024. La Gazzetta dello Sport's Paolo Filisetti wrote this week: "Technical staff have found areas to improve.

The RB20 will see a major aerodynamic revolution. Not even gusts of wind would create any more problems, as happened in the Brazilian GP, he said.

Publicly, F1's leaders including FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali have put a brave face on the dominance, insisting fans are privileged to be witnessing a true F1 legend in action.

But a research analyst for Rosenblatt Securities, Barton Crockett, thinks Formula 1 needs to be worried about Verstappen.

As great as Verstappen is, he told Time magazine, right now he looks like the biggest risk to the business.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen even admits: I would get bored of it if I was watching.

For his part, Verstappen insists it's not boring from his vantage point to have even broken the great Alberto Ascari's long-standing 75 percent winning record rate this season.

The NBA survived when the Chicago Bulls were dominating, he insists.

At the time, or even afterwards, people are like, 'Oh, that was amazing'. If you are a real fan of the sport, you should be able to appreciate a team doing very well, Verstappen added.

F1, however, has rapidly grown in the past several years since US-centric Liberty Media bought the commercial rights in 2017 - attracting many brand new and arguably less knowledgeable fans from initiatives like the Netflix series Drive To Survive.

Verstappen is unmoved about what impact his continuing dominance might have on the bottom line, but he is at least aware of F1's sport-versus-show balancing-act.

I would just keep in mind that the actual sport comes first, instead of the show, he insisted. That, for me, is very important, and that eventually will also decide if I stay or not.

He is already signed up with Red Bull through 2028, meaning that by then, he might even have eclipsed Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton's all-time joint record of seven drivers' titles apiece.

Would I like to win seven? Yeah, why not? said Verstappen. But even if I don't win seven, I know that there's still so many more things in life than F1. I'm already very happy with what I have achieved.