Former F1 team boss Giancarlo Minardi says “news from England” will be a concern for Red Bull’s rivals as he’s hearing the RB20 will be “even better” than this year’s all-conquering RB19.
Setting new records in 2022 as Red Bull clinched the double in the first year of Formula 1’s ground-effect aerodynamic cars, little did anyone know what would come next.
Building on his record-breaking 15 wins in 2022, Max Verstappen claimed 19 out of 22 this past season and finished on the podium in all but one.
Minardi fears another Red Bull rampage
That Grand Prix, Singapore, was the only race that Red Bull didn’t win as they struggled to find the right set-up around the Marina Bay circuit. The other 21 wins, though, all went to Red Bull.
Romping from one record to another with the most successive wins for a team and then for a driver, Red Bull again wrapped up the double with Verstappen’s tally in the Drivers’ standings comfortably ahead of second-placed Mercedes’ score in the teams’ battle.
But while Red Bull’s rivals are hoping 2024 will be a closer fight, former team owner Minardi has his doubts.
“Everyone says yes, that they will be,” the Italian told Gazzetta dello Sport. “But I would wait a while to say it.
“They have an advantage that I think is difficult to fill at the moment.
“Because by carefully analysing the 2023 races I got the idea that Verstappen never allowed us to see the maximum of his possibilities. And this doesn’t give us much hope.
“And then I get news from England that their 2024 car is even better.”
The Italian still hopes for a closer 2024 battle
It begs the question what do Ferrari, often referred to as Italy’s national team, need to do to take the fight to Red Bull.
The only team to beat the Milton Keynes squad in 2023 when Carlos Sainz won in Singapore, Minardi feels there were encouraging signs in the second half of the campaign.
“If I knew it, I would have already won the lotto,” he replied.
“Sitting in an armchair you watch the race, you compare the times, you can make some considerations, but then to know how a team really works you have to live inside it, and sometimes that’s not even enough.
“So there is no need to give judgments or even advice.
“Everyone expected a certain level, especially after a promising start, a level which the red team only reached at the end. So it was a season of growth.”
With McLaren also in the mix after they put a B-spec MCL60 on the track, the 76-year-old believes there is cause to hope the 2024 championship will be a close affair.
He continued: “In its second part I believe it made us experience something of 2024, because with the stability of the regulations we will start again from a situation in which in qualifying all 15 cars in Q2 were within a second.
“A nice sign of competitiveness and balance. In which it is quite easy to go from being good to being much less so.
“After that, Ferrari and McLaren improved their long runs as the championship went on, so let’s hope for the best and have fun.”