Ferrari and Mercedes accused of ‘huge missed opportunity’ to reel in Red Bull

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, hands to face. Spain, June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, puts his hands to his face while talking to Max Verstappen, Red Bull. Spain, June 2023.

Handed the perfect opportunity to get the jump on Red Bull through the team’s limited wind tunnel time, Tom Coronel says Ferrari and Mercedes “missed a huge opportunity”.

Red Bull have bulldozed their rivals this season with the Milton Keynes squad securing a perfect 12 from 12 as they romp toward a second successive championship double.

Led by Max Verstappen, who has claimed 10 wins, eight of those coming in a run that began in Miami and continued into the Belgian Grand Prix, pundits have questioned whether Red Bull are “ruining” this year’s championship.

Ferrari and Mercedes missed ‘huge opportunity’ to reel in Red Bull

The BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast host Harry Benjamin said after Spa that Verstappen is “almost actually ruining Formula One a little bit because of how good he is” while former Williams driver Jack Aitken felt fans were “being robbed a little bit of that at the moment”.

Coronel, though, feels the blame for that is being apportioned to the wrong parties as it belongs to the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, and even Alpine.

This season Red Bull have had less wind tunnel testing time compared to their rivals, the Milton Keynes squad not only restricted by F1’s aerodynamic testing restriction scale but also their budget cap penalty.

“The regulations have never been such that the top team has the least chance on paper,” Coronel told “These regulations should offer opportunities, and the wind tunnel penalty was added to that.

“With the rules as they are now, it is very clear to me that Ferrari have missed a huge opportunity and that Mercedes have also missed a huge opportunity. Also, think about Alpine, because what are they all doing in recent years?” recommends

The eight most expensive penalties in F1 history: Which team has paid the largest amount?

Five big rule changes the FIA introduced to reel in dominant F1 teams

Such has been Red Bull’s impenetrable form this season, rivals fear they could secure a first-ever season’s whitewash with 22 wins from 22 races; Verstappen on track to break his 2022 record for the most wins in a single season.

Last season he bagged 15, this year he already has 10.

“At the start of the season, everyone asked the question ‘how many races will he win this year’, but you should have asked ‘how many won’t he win’,” Coronel said of the Dutchman.

“It’s not really fun anymore, of course, it is for us, but not for the others.”

Coronel ‘jealous’ of what Max Verstappen can do

A racing driver himself, Coronel admits he is “jealous” of Verstappen’s talent behind the wheel.

Put to him that Verstappen could be one of the greatest ever, he replied: “But I’ve been saying that for ten years!

“I’m immediately called all sorts of things, but I just look at it purely as a driver. I’ve been saying for a long time that I’m jealous of what that boy can do. I say that purely from my experience as a racing driver.

“I see him doing things that I can’t do myself and that I’ve hardly ever seen in 35 years of motorsport. That’s the only reason I say it.

“That is absolutely not because he is Dutch, because according to people he would pay me or because I would be in love with him, as people say rather quickly. No, it’s just the reality I see.

“And the question is also: when will it stop? I’ve made this statement before, but it’s almost sad if you participate in a championship where Max Verstappen is on the entry list.”

Coronel believes only 2026’s new regulations could stop Verstappen

Declaring Verstappen and Red Bull’s reign “will continue” for the next two years, the 51-year-old reckons only 2026’s new regulations could stop them.

But in truth, he doesn’t believe they will.

“I’m not afraid of that,” he said. “Firstly, Max and Red Bull know how to win over most people in the team. That is of course also logical because you want to work with a winner. Everyone wants to win races.

“And even if the stuff is a little less from 2026, we saw that two years ago, you still have the Max Verstappen factor. In that respect, I’m not afraid of new regulations, not at all.”

Read next: Helmut Marko update on Max Verstappen after driver questions ‘Is this still worth it’