Martin Brundle sends alarming Red Bull warning to rivals as title race in major doubt

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Former Formula 1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle feels it will not be easy for teams to make F1 2024 gains through upgrades, with no guarantee that Red Bull will stand still.

After two seasons of dominance, it was hoped that Red Bull would face a greater threat in F1 2024, but with three 1-2 finishes claimed across the opening four rounds, it has the likes of Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff already handing Max Verstappen his fourth successive World Championship.

Martin Brundle sees potential pitfall to Red Bull pursuit

The Japanese Grand Prix saw the likes of Red Bull and Aston Martin introduce upgrades, though the true development war is tipped to begin in the coming races, as teams looks to whittle away Red Bull’s advantage out front by improving their machinery.

However, Brundle has warned this is easier said than done, while teams could find themselves matched or outdone by Red Bull’s work on their RB20.

Sky F1 podcast host Matt Baker had put Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and “Mercedes slash Aston Martin” as the pecking order based on the season so far, to which Brundle replied: “I think until we see the upgrades to some of the cars coming up in the next few races, whether they can really close the gap… It’s hard to find a tenth, let alone a quarter of a second.

“And in any event, who is to say Red Bull won’t find a tenth or another two-tenths anyway.

“So I think it’s fair to say that’s the order and it really depends as to which of Aston Martin and Mercedes are on form on any given weekend as to which way around you put those two.

“But when you look at it, McLaren, both drivers have scored points in all four races, McLaren have got twice as many points already as Aston and Mercedes.”

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Something of a two-tier Championship has developed with RB, Haas, Williams, Sauber and Alpine battling behind those top five teams to pick up any points going spare, Brundle brutally labelling Alpine as the grid’s clear slowest team.

And Brundle has been entertained by the “great racing” going on in that pack, even if he knows fans will counter by saying it is not for the front-running positions.

“Probably what’s more difficult to define is the next five,” Brundle added.

“Well, Alpine I think are pretty much parked at the back on that one.

“But once again, all the great racing is in the second half of the field. Now I know a lot of fans are saying, ‘Well, that’s not for the win, it’s not for the podium’, but I mean, it’s desperate back there, isn’t it, for the last few championship points that those top five you just mentioned might leave on the table if they have a problem, trip over each other or whatever.

“And Yuki Tsunoda has hoovered up some of those and Haas and the sort of positions they’ll have at the end of season mean they’ve got to take those few slim pickings off the table. And that’s why we’re seeing such feisty racing back there.”

While Red Bull are out front in the Constructors’ Championship standings, their buffer over Ferrari is only 21 points heading into the Chinese Grand Prix.

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