McLaren send warning to Max Verstappen and Red Bull over F1 domination

Oliver Harden
Respective Red Bull and McLaren drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris on press conference duties in Spain. June 2023

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris on press conference duties in Spain. June 2023

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown has warned that it is “just a matter of time” until other teams begin to challenge Max Verstappen and Red Bull at the front in F1.

Red Bull have started the 2023 season with nine consecutive wins, with Verstappen taking his fifth successive victory at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

His latest triumph means Verstappen has now won 32 of the last 53 grands prix since the start of his maiden title-winning season in 2021 – with Red Bull winning all but five races since F1’s new technical regulations, introduced with the hope of creating closer competition, were introduced last year.

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

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Speaking at the unveiling of McLaren’s one-off livery for this weekend’s British GP, Brown insisted he is currently seeing no signs of F1’s commercial appeal being harmed by the predictable on-track spectacle.

And while the racing at the front may be uninteresting, he has been encouraged by the close competition in the midfield.

He told selected media including “Google is a massive partner of ours [and] I’m not seeing in any slowdown in the commercial interest of Formula 1, definitely not at McLaren.

“But even if I look around at the host of announcements and the other sponsor announcements, I think the sport is going from strength to strength.

“And I think that while Max is dominating, the balance of the racing is pretty awesome. It takes 20 cars to put on an exciting race and while the excitement of who’s going to win might be not where we all want it to be I think the balance of the racing is quite, quite exciting.”

Brown sees the dominance of Verstappen as the main barrier to a more exciting spectacle, with the recent performances of Sergio Perez – who has reached Q3 at less than half of the first nine races – offering hope to the chasing pack. recommends

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“I think it’ll be just a matter of time until some teams catch up,” he added. “And it’s really just Max’s car, right?

“If you take Sergio who’s winning races but, you know, he kind of puts everyone back into the mix. So it’s a bit of a Max special at the moment.”

Following the introduction of a major upgrade, McLaren secured their best result since the 2022 Singapore GP in Austria as Lando Norris finished fourth.

The British driver showed encouraging pace at the Red Bull Ring, with Norris starting as high as third in the Saturday sprint race before outpacing the heavily revised Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton the following day.

McLaren are set to welcome the next element of their ambitious three-stage mid-season upgrade package at Silverstone this weekend.

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