Exclusive: Mario Andretti delivers verdict on impact of Max Verstappen dominance

Thomas Maher
1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti and two-time F1 World Champion Max Verstappen.

1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti and two-time F1 World Champion Max Verstappen.

From one F1 World Champion to another, Mario Andretti has shared his thoughts on Max Verstappen’s unassailable dominance.

With Red Bull romping their way to 12 wins from 12 races and Max Verstappen en route to a third consecutive drivers’ title, a fellow F1 World Champion has expressed his admiration for the feat.

1978 F1 World Champion  Mario Andretti said he views dominant spells in the sport as a “positive” and indicative of motorsport actually being in rude health.

Mario Andretti: Records are made to be broken

Red Bull are able to eye up a long-standing record of 35 years, when McLaren won 15 of 16 races – the most dominant season in history.

With every race falling to a Red Bull driver so far in 2023, there’s little sign of anyone being able to halt their momentum.

While the dominance is leading to fans bemoaning the sport being predictable, Andretti said it’s a feat to be admired.

“Did anyone ever think that Michael Schumacher’s win record would be broken, or World Championships – those are very impressive records,” Andretti said, in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com.

“But that’s the beauty about this sport, I always say records are made to be broken.

“I’ve held some records in IndyCar for many, many years. All of a sudden, they’re in danger, so the way I look at the sport, I love to see the sport thrive. And the sport thrives when records are broken.

“That’s the beautiful thing about it. I look at it as a very, very positive thing for individuals like myself that love the sport above anything else.”

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Mario Andretti: Dominance is ‘nothing new’ in Formula 1

Elaborating on his point, Andretti explained that dominance tends to come in cycles in Formula 1 and, while the level of dominance may be slightly higher than expected, Red Bull are merely just enjoying their time in the sun before being inevitably caught.

“[Dominance] is nothing new in Formula 1,” he said.

“OK, records are broken but, at the same time, a single team dominating a season, or a driver-dominated season, has happened, historically in Formula 1 from the beginning.

“Look when [Juan Manuel] Fangio was there, for instance, Moss, and so on and so forth. Sometimes, it’s obviously outstanding, like when Michael Schumacher started that dominance, but there’s nothing new.

“Even the years when I was driving for Lotus, between Ronnie [Peterson] and myself, if it wasn’t one, it was the other to possibly win. of course, reliability was not there like today and that took us away from many, many victories.

“But, nevertheless, there’s nothing new in Formula 1, that’s the way it is. But, when you look at the big picture, and you see qualifying, where they’ve 10 or 12, or 15 cars, inside a second – that tells you something now about how competitive it is.

“It’s just that somebody just has a little bit of an edge, and whoever is demonstrating that, I have a great respect for, because I know it’s daunting to be able to achieve that.”

Read More: ‘Magic’ Red Bull ‘could face FIA intervention’ as dominant run continues