‘Not able to beat the legend’ – F1 boss’ unique take on Max Verstappen after shock Lando Norris win

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen on the podium in Miami.

Max Verstappen was forced to settle for P2 in Miami - a rare occurrence for him in the ground effect era of Formula 1.

Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali has given his view on the dominance of Max Verstappen in the sport, saying it can offer an incentive to others to “beat the legend” on the grid.

Domenicali was at Ferrari during Michael Schumacher’s title-winning streak at the Scuderia, and with Lando Norris having taken a surprise victory in Miami last time out – his first in Formula 1 – it has offered a glimmer of hope to rivals that Red Bull may be catchable at some point this season.

Max Verstappen dominance a case of trying to ‘beat the legend’ on F1 grid

Domenicali pointed out that dominant streaks have often the norm rather than the exception throughout Formula 1 history, with Verstappen having won 19 of 22 races on his own last season on his way to a third consecutive World Championship.

The Formula 1 CEO was asked why the sport has not intervened to try and level the playing field, with Red Bull – in Verstappen’s hands in particular – having held a vice-like grip over the top step of the podium in recent years.

In response, he believes having too many race winners means there is no outright dominant force, or “legend”, to be got at, or the reigning World Champion as it stands at the moment.

“I think it’s right to say we are not manufacturing a fake result, because someone is doing better than the others,” Domenicali told ESPN SportsCenter when asked about the sport’s reluctance to curb Red Bull’s dominance with rule changes.

“That’s not the objective of the sport. And by the way, in all the [history of the] sport Formula 1 has lived with cycles, where we had the great racers who won for many years, one behind the others.

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“And this is not the factor that is not attracting people, because there is also the fact that if there are too many racers that are winning, then you are not able to beat the legend.

“So we need to respect the fact that so far, Max has been the best driver, and soon maybe there will be someone that will take that place.”

But for all the legions of fans Verstappen has around the world, the Orange Army a common feature in particular at the European rounds of the season, the one driver-one team dominance since 2022 has led more casual fans to believe the sport has become predictable, given Verstappen’s unprecedented run of success in that time.

When it was put to him that Verstappen’s near-monopoly over the P1 spot has made the sport ‘boring’ for some fans, Domenicali was not convinced when taking a wider view.

“To these fans that are very, very few, I would say we are all sold out everywhere around the world, that the awareness numbers are growing,” he responded.

“So I think that they are a very limited number, but they should stay focused on our sport, because they have big, big things happening, and all the cars are very close.

“Things can always happen at every single moment, so I would advise them to stay with us.”

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