F1 2023 title permutations: When can Max Verstappen win the World Championship?

Sam Cooper
Red Bull's Max Verstappen lifts his 2022 crown.

Same time next year? Max Verstappen lifts his 2022 crown.

Max Verstappen is edging ever closer to a third World title and we have worked out exactly when he could win it.

It now seems a matter of when, not if Verstappen will pick up his third title, making him the joint-sixth most successful driver in history alongside Jack Brabham, Sir Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna.

With a 152-point lead in the championship over team-mate Sergio Perez and having won the last nine races, here is when the Dutchman is likely to do it.

Who can still stop Max Verstappen winning the World Championship?

There are now just four drivers who, in theory, could still mathematically win the title regardless.

The list of potential candidates stretches from Fernando Alonso in 4th meaning Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez are all still in the running.

Realistically though, the greatest threat to Verstappen’s success is his team-mate Perez but it would take quite the capitulation from the Dutchman for this to become a reality.

When is the earliest Max Verstappen can win the World Championship?

With his Singapore struggles, Verstappen is no longer able to win the title in Japan meaning the earliest opportunity he could secure the championship would be in Qatar sprint.

Should Verstappen win in Suzuka and get the fastest lap while Perez fails to score points, the Dutchman would need just three more points than Perez in the sprint to confirm the title.

If Perez finishes second behind Verstappen in Japan then the reigning world champion would need to score 21 more points than his team-mate across the Qatar weekend.

In terms of records, that would seem him fall one short of Michael Schumacher’s 2002 season for the earliest win by number of grands prix left but in terms of percentage of races.

What if Max Verstappen fails to win another race?

However unlikely it seems, in theory Verstappen’s Italian victory could be his last of the season but even if that were to be the case, he still has a pretty good chance of winning the title.

Should the Dutchman finish second to Perez’s first at every race and sprint, he will win the championship at the United States Grand Prix with four races left to go.

If he comes third in every race then he will have to wait until the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

How many races can Max Verstappen afford to DNF?

As well as their speed, the reality of the Red Bull car has been remarkable this year and Verstappen has yet to DNF in a race but should the unthinkable happen and the RB19 lose its reliability then it is not alarm bells just yet.

Verstappen could afford five grand prix DNFs and the Qatar and Austin sprint and still win the title, meaning he could miss 23% of the season and still be the champion.

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When can Red Bull win the World Championship?

Of course, it is not just Verstappen on the hunt to retain his crown but also Red Bull who are looking to win their sixth Constructors’ crown.

Like the Dutchman, Red Bull have a healthy lead at the top of the table with a 308-point lead over second place Mercedes.

But there are in theory three teams capable of winning the title including Ferrari and Mercedes.

In reality, Red Bull’s ascension is a matter of time and that time could come at the Japanese Grand Prix. That situation will occur if they score at least 11 points more than Mercedes in Suzuka.

If Mercedes beat Red Bull to every one-two between now and the end of the season, the championship will still be going to Milton Keynes by the end of the Qatar Grand Prix.

Read next: Singapore Grand Prix conclusions – Sainz’s day of days, Red Bull’s shock, AlphaTauri’s dilemma