May 26, 2024

Red Bull dominated the 2023 season, securing victory in 21 out of 22 races, with their only setback occurring at the Singapore Grand Prix in September. Of these triumphs, 19 were achieved by Verstappen, who clinched the Championship with a comfortable lead of 290 points over his teammate, Sergio Perez.

In contrast, Mercedes experienced their first winless season since 2011, maintaining the problematic zero-pod concept introduced in 2022 until it was discarded before the Monaco Grand Prix in May. Despite subsequent improvements and podium finishes, the overhaul failed to eliminate Red Bull’s advantage, leaving Mercedes in second place in the standings, trailing the champions by 451 points.

Since the inception of the current regulation cycle in 2022, Verstappen has secured 34 victories out of 45 attempts, an undoubtedly remarkable sporting achievement. However, alongside Formula 1’s continued popularity growth, questions arise about the potential damage of such dominance.

When questioned about the sport’s ability to endure another year of Red Bull’s dominance, Wolff acknowledged the strength in the current numbers, citing growth on social media and packed race venues. However, he emphasized that the spectacle is crucial, and if the on-track action is not compelling, fan engagement may decline.

Wolff stressed the importance of the sport being a meritocracy, where the team performing the best emerges victorious. He highlighted the responsibility of all teams on the grid, including Mercedes and Ferrari, to elevate their performance and engage in fierce competition for top honors. Reflecting on the past, he noted that Mercedes had faced a similar situation with Lewis Hamilton several years ago, emphasizing the need for improvement without waiting until 2026.

Wolff, who oversaw Mercedes’ dominance with eight consecutive Constructors’ titles from 2014 to 2021, understands the need for competitiveness and the continual pursuit of excellence to maintain Formula 1’s appeal and captivate its expanding audience.

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