Red Bull have been told that McLaren are the main team to be worried about after the Woking outfit predicted their own upturn in form.
The idea of McLaren being a 2024 title contender would have seemed fanciful at the start of 2023 but such was their turnaround in performance that they are arguably Red Bull’s biggest threat next season.
But what has most impressed ex-F1 driver Jan Lammers is that McLaren predicted their own future.
McLaren tipped to pose Red Bull threat
F1 teams saying one thing then doing another is commonplace with even the most mild of predictions proving to be incorrect but in McLaren’s case, they promised a lot and delivered.
Having warned that the 2023 car was a few weeks behind schedule, it was all hands on deck at the MTC as their turnaround began in Austria.
“The team that will realise the most that they have to work hard again next year will probably be Red Bull itself,” Lammers told RacingNews365.
“There they understand very well that these things come out of the blue. You can also see how close it is.
“That the team [McLaren] has an awful lot of potential is evident from three things.
“Obviously from their top performances, but also, for example, already from the fact that they announced that they were going to deliver those top performances. That shows how good the correlation is between what is worked out in the wind-tunnel, in CFD and on the track.”
Another team Lammers predicted to pose a problem was Mercedes.
“I think the progress they made midway through the season showed that they were taking the right countermeasures at that time, which in my view allowed them to tap into the maximum potential of this chassis,” he said.
“The downside after that was that the other teams managed to develop the cars even further.
“Mercedes had at some point reached the maximum possible, I think. And then if you want to develop even further, it goes downhill again. Compare it to a driver who starts overdriving his car, while it can’t actually go any faster.
“For next year, therefore, I expect that they can come back very strong. They now know which way to work, and if they have indeed reached the maximum potential of the W14 early, they have also been able to shift the focus completely to 2024 early on.
“Red Bull has found the ideal flow with this shape of the car, then you can’t escape the fact that others are also going to seek and find that ideal shape.”
Lammers also suggested that despite Red Bull winning all but one race, the level of dominance was not as high as many had assumed.
“I think there is much less dominance than it may seem,” he said.
“The Singapore Grand Prix showed that Red Bull can also be vulnerable.
“With the bad races [like Singapore] you win or lose championships, and Red Bull had few bad races.
“Max Verstappen’s dominance also has to do with the competition behind Max. Take him away for a moment and you look at a top driver like Sergio Perez, and it shows what a normal championship would have looked like.
“The difference between Verstappen and Perez is the difference in driving.
“Max is pre-eminently one of those examples of someone who gets the most out of his car, out of his environment and out of the situations thrown up.
“So if you look back on the season now, it all seems like things worked out well, and there will certainly have been races where it all went quite easily, but they really had to work for it all the time.
“We’ve seen them all [Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren] up front once, but never over the whole season, and if every time someone else comes second or third, you get these kinds of big differences [in the championship].”