Max Verstappen believes Formula 1 is better when the top drivers are in different places to create multi-team title battles, meaning Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari settles neatly into his vision.
Hamilton ensured a very early and wild start to the latest F1 ‘silly season’ with the bombshell announcement that F1 2024 will be his final season with Mercedes before switching to Ferrari to live out a “childhood dream”.
There he will partner Charles Leclerc, meaning Ferrari will house a pair of title-chasing drivers, while Mercedes also very much hope to be back in the mix for F1 2024 and beyond.
Max Verstappen welcomes multi-team F1 title battles
For any driver wanting to become World Champion though, a monumental challenge awaits in the form of reigning and defending three-time champion Verstappen, a driver who Hamilton was linked with joining at Red Bull as speculation bubbled away in the previous campaign.
However, Verstappen prefers that Hamilton is at Ferrari, as he believes F1 is most “beautiful” when the title-chasing drivers are spread out, rather than team-mates.
“That’s much nicer anyway, yes,” Verstappen told Motorsport.com on the idea of a closer grid with multiple title-contending teams.
“A fight between two team-mates is fun, but I think it’s even more beautiful when there are two or more teams really competing for wins. So I think it’s nicer to have all the good drivers in other cars.”
One car was doing the majority of the winning in 2023 though, as Verstappen claimed a remarkable 19 grand prix victories at the wheel of the Red Bull RB19 which won 21 out of 22 overall.
However, the ground-effect regulations first introduced in 2022 are set to remain stable for the coming two seasons, which Verstappen believes is the perfect recipe for the grid to start closing in on Red Bull.
“The longer you leave the regulations the same, the closer it gets,” he stated. “Everyone then understands in which direction they have to develop.
“Especially with the cars we have now. There is a bit less potential in this in terms of further development than the previous cars in my opinion, back then with bargeboards and the like. That was very complicated. I think with these cars it’s a bit easier and you can get closer faster.”
But, while Verstappen expects the competition to grow stronger for Red Bull, he stressed “that’s also our motivation to try to get as much out of it as possible again”, as he bids to become a four-time World Champion and match Sebastian Vettel’s streak of four World titles in a row with Red Bull, achieved between 2010-13.