FIA ‘all ears’ on ‘democratic’ way to halt Max Verstappen and Red Bull dominance

Thomas Maher
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen celebrates after clinching his third F1 title in the Qatar sprint race.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen celebrates after clinching his third F1 title in the Qatar sprint race.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem says he’s open to implementing “fair and democratic” ways to end a dominant team’s superiority.

Formula 1 is reaching the end of a second consecutive season that has seen Red Bull and Max Verstappen romp their way to the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships, with no real sense that the combination is going to be knocked from F1’s pedestal any time soon.

With the rules for 2024 and ’25 remaining static ahead of a revolutionary ruleset for ’26, the idea of another two years of unchallenged dominance is one that has led to the question of whether regulatory intervention is required in order to add some more competition to the front of F1.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem ‘open to suggestions’ on halting dominant team superiority

With Verstappen’s dominance coinciding with F1’s popularity blossoming in the United States, the big question is whether F1 can weather another two years of the current status quo without causing damage to that growth.

But a heavy-handed intervention from the FIA isn’t something that President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has any interest in exploring, with the Emirati explaining recently he is open to ideas that are fair and democratic without punishing Red Bull indiscriminately.

“It [domination] has happened so many times: just look at Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher,” Ben Sulayem told, when asked if he had concerns about Red Bull’s lock-out of success being a turn-off.

“How to stop? It’s a bit harsh and not right to go and punish success.

“I mean, I’m open for suggestions if you think that there is a way to be fair and to be democratic, and not to just punish Max and his team or any other team. We’re all ears here really.

“But I’m stuck like you. There’s no way that the FIA will punish success, and it [one driver dominance] has happened before twice in my time.”

With overtaking proving more difficult in 2023 as a result of development and directives aimed at reducing porpoising, the FIA’s head of single-seater matters Nikolas Tombazis recently revealed that following other cars has become more difficult. recommends

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At the start of 2022, the infancy of the current ground-effect era, the reduction in aero load was around 20 percent when a car was two metres behind another – that figure has since climbed to 35 percent reduction.

With teams inadvertently creating this issue as aero development in creating more individual performance continues, Ben Sulayem says the FIA needs to be a step in front of what the teams will create.

“They’re getting smarter, but we have to be smarter than them,” he said.

“It is a good thing they are because they are making the level higher for us. Honestly, if they didn’t, we’ll be sitting there, like [stuck] on E5 fuel, when it comes to emissions.

“We would become lazy, and we would become not creative, and there would be no challenge.”

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