‘When you see Max Verstappen and Red Bull on the entry list, you fight for P2’

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen crowed 2022 F1 World Champion. Japan October 2022

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen crowed 2022 F1 World Champion. Japan October 2022

Max Verstappen and Red Bull in their current form are going to take some beating if they are to be overhauled in 2023, according to Dutch racer Tom Coronel.

The two-time World Champion took 15 wins from 22 races last season, an all-time single-season record in Formula 1, as he and Red Bull romped to both Drivers’ and Constructors’ glory.

Such was Verstappen’s dominant streak in the second half of the season, winning nine of the final 11 races, World Touring Car racer Coronel even claimed: “If you see Verstappen and Red Bull on the entry list, you are normally fighting for P2.”

Even though the team will be hit with a penalty in the form of a 10% reduction in wind tunnel time for 2023, on top of having the fewest runs available for winning the Constructors’ title last year, the driver and pundit thinks the reigning champions will be tough to rein in this season, given how they hit the ground running in Formula 1’s new ground effect era.

“Their system and their combination is just working at the moment and that means it won’t stop at once now. It can’t,” Coronel explained, quoted by the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.

“I think Red Bull and Verstappen will be very hard to beat in the next two years, in the combination that’s there now.

“Once you have chosen a certain direction that works well, you don’t immediately turn at right angles. Normally, this can’t be over overnight.”

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Ferrari and Mercedes will be looking to bridge the gap to Red Bull for the beginning of 2023, and with their extra time in the wind tunnel they will have further opportunities to develop the aerodynamics on their new challengers as the year progresses.

This could have the effect of closing the field up at the front as Red Bull are more hamstrung by their penalty, and the Dutchman joined the voices hoping to see a tighter title fight this season, after Verstappen wrapped up proceedings with four races to go in 2022.

“That will hopefully bring the rest a bit closer, but they won’t go over it straight away, you understand that too,” Coronel said, discussing Red Bull’s penalty.

“Personally, I do hope that Mercedes will indeed get there, as Max also says. That would be nice for the sport, of course. Two or three fighting each other, then we get just a bit more fight and rivalry at the front. We need those things a bit too of course as fans of the sport.”