Ex-F1 boss assesses ‘Hamilton-Schumacher effect’ risk with Max Verstappen era

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen, Red Bull

Max Verstappen celebrates with donuts at the conclusion of the F1 2023 season.

With three titles on the trot, the latest two in dominant fashion, and the potential for another two, Paul Stoddart has warned F1 there’s a “danger” fans will get bored with Max Verstappen’s success.

Setting a new record last year for the most wins in a season as he clinched 15 on his way to the World title, Verstappen went on to break that in 2023 when he won 19. That’s 19 in a 22-Grand Prix season.

That Red Bull won a further two with Sergio Perez gave them an unprecedented run to begin the championship of 15 on the trot beginning with last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix only kicked off their record-breaking campaign.

Paul Stoddart warns F1: People get bored

That pipped McLaren’s 1988 record of 11 in a row. Red Bull’s win percentage was also better than McLaren’s from that season when they won 15 of 16 races with legends Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost as their drivers.

But while Formula 1 has long seen periods of dominance, even one-driver dominance, it’s how Verstappen is doing it that could become a problem.

Winning one Grand Prix after another by double digits or more, the Dutchman had absolutely no competition during the 2023 season.

And that, former team boss Stoddart has warned, could put fans off.

Declaring the “2023 Formula 1 season will go down in history as the Max Verstappen and Red Bull championship, and so it should,” the Aussie told Racingnews3665.com: “There is a danger of the Lewis Hamilton effect or the Michael Schumacher effect where once a driver is winning consistently, people get bored.”

He, however, feels the action behind Verstappen saved Formula 1 this season.

“Luckily this year, I think we had enough drama elsewhere on the grid,” he continued. “But for Verstappen to deliver that kind of performance week in and week out with a one-off race in Singapore, that’s pretty impressive. That’s a sign of a true champion.”

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Formula 1 and the FIA, though, has already insisted they won’t not take action to curb Red Bull’s dominance.

As such Stoddart believes the Verstappen-Red Bull era would continue as he reckons Red Bull could be their “own main” opposition next season.

“The only way that this record can be beaten is by Red Bull and Max in 2024,” he said. “In a way, Red Bull is its own main competitor for next year, although repeating such an achievement will be a very tall task.

“I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of teams like McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari and maybe even Aston Martin having their periods of brilliance where can be up there challenging Max after showing flashes of speed across the last year.

“Will Verstappen still be a second lap quicker than everyone else on the grid when the cars take to the track next year? I think he will be – but not at every race.

“Perhaps Red Bull might only win 18 out of the 24 races that are to be staged next year. But I think it will be more exciting.”

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