Former driver on Red Bull success: If I were Toto Wolff, I wouldn’t sleep well at the moment

Michelle Foster
Red Bull's Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen embrace after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, April 2023.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen embrace after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, April 2023.

Urging the FIA not to intervene to hamstring Red Bull, Hans-Joachim Stuck says it’s up to rivals to close the gap with Mercedes “simply not on the level” and Ferrari doing “stupid things”.

Having won last year’s championship double with 17 wins in 22 races, this season Red Bull have found something extra with the RB19 with the team setting records on their way to a second successive double.

With records such as the biggest winning margin in the championships to the earliest titles have been wrapped up for grabs, for Red Bull the 2023 season has been a stroll in the park.

Hamstringing Red Bull could be ‘totally unfair’

So much so they have 12 wins from 12 races, and there is no sign at the moment of their rivals halting their charge.

That has former F1 driver Stuck worried that sooner or later the FIA will intervene as it has done in the past.

“I think that’s totally unfair!” he declared to Eurosport.

“The regulations are very clear in this regard, everyone has the same opportunities. In the end, the conditions are the same everywhere and everyone has to make the best of it.

“At the moment only Red Bull is doing that. Ferrari has a good speed, but all kinds of stupid things happen elsewhere and Mercedes is simply not on the level of Red Bull anymore. There’s no question about that.”

The 71-year-old cited McLaren’s recent surge, the Woking team said to have gained over a second of lap time with their recent upgrades, as proof that teams can make big steps forward during the season.

“There are teams like McLaren who – of course also because of the talent of their two drivers – have recognised where they have to go and are now extremely close to this goal,” he said. A big compliment for that! If I were Toto Wolff, I wouldn’t sleep well at the moment.”

Instead of trying to curtail Red Bull’s advantage, Stuck believes the FIA has other problems to prioritise such as Saturday’s sprint race at Spa getting underway behind the Safety Car.

The Safety Car led the drivers for five formation laps before, over two laps at the start, they all pitted to swap their full wet Pirellis for intermediate tyres.

“It should be much more important for the FIA to organise itself and focus on extravagances like the Safety Car in the rain and such nonsense,” he said. “The best racing drivers in the world sit in the cars and a circus like this is held when it rains.

“Then they just have to drive more slowly when it rains too much. A start behind the Safety Car.. that’s kidding!

“Formula 1 puts on a great show, and there’s huge interest. After Belgium, however, I also heard from many local acquaintances that they felt cheated – and I have to agree with them in that regard.” recommends

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‘Such dominance has never existed before’

Max Verstappen went on to win the Sprint race ahead of Oscar Piastri before securing the grand Prix win on the Sunday, his 10th victory of this season and Red Bull’s 12th.

“He’s simply the best driver in the field at the moment,” said Stuck. “If you beat your team-mate by 21 seconds and the third-placed Ferrari by 30 seconds… Even in the times of Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, or Niki Lauda, it wasn’t the case that a driver duped the rest of the field like that.

“He is certainly one of the most outstanding drivers that Formula 1 has ever produced.

“When you see his maneuvers and the consistency with which he executes them – it’s just incredible what he’s doing with the car. I’m sure he’ll be able to position the car the way he needs it to use his skills.

“The overall combination of Verstappen and Red Bull… such dominance has never existed before.”

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