Haas boss Guenther Steiner thinks F1 2024 will be the year that Max Verstappen finally faces some competition for race wins after two seasons of dominance.
Verstappen stood on the top step of the podium 19 times out of a possible 22 during an incredibly dominant F1 2023 season, accumulating a whopping 575 points in the process – that was 290 points clear of nearest title ‘challenger’ Sergio Perez.
But, a fresh campaign brings fresh hope of a more competitive fight at the sharp end of the F1 grid and, based on his observations, Steiner reckons that is likely to happen.
Will someone challenge Max Verstappen in F1 2024?
“I think somebody will challenge Max next year,” Steiner said in an interview with Sky F1.
I think that we will have that one in F1 2024.”
Interestingly, the next sentences Steiner would utter directly after that focused on seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, perhaps indirectly suggesting that he will be the one to reignite the on-track rivalry with his Red Bull counterpart.
Steiner added: “For me, Lewis [Hamilton] I don’t think he will stop. Physically, you would never think he’s 38 or next year 39. He is very fit and I don’t think he’s ready to stop doing it because he likes what he does.”
An actual silly season on the horizon?
The F1 2023 grid that finished the season in Abu Dhabi will be exactly the same grid that lines up for the F1 2024 season opener in Bahrain, with no team opting to make any off-season changes to their respective driver pairings.
That meant the F1 community was starved of a traditional ‘silly season’ – a phrase coined to encapsulate the madness that can ensue when seats are up for grabs.
But, at the time of writing, only six drivers have their place confirmed on the F1 2025 grid, leaving a massive 14 potential opportunities elsewhere.
As a result, Steiner thinks we could see a lot of fresh faces in the not-too-distant-future.
“I think there’s a lot of potential at the end of 2024, focusing on ’25, I think there’s a big opportunity for young drivers to come in,” Steiner said.
“Because some of them, the drivers who are there now or will be at the end of ’24, maybe stop doing it.
“Some of them will have not performed, nobody will pick them up. Some, I see a better opportunity in taking a risk with a young driver than keeping somebody who didn’t perform.”
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