Christian Horner’s ‘bluff’ on Red Bull 2024 challenger development gets called out to propel Mercedes, Ferrari agony

Red Bull has been in dominant form for the last couple of seasons, with their star driver Max Verstappen so far ahead of the rest of the pack that the destination of the drivers’ and constructors’ championship has been a mere formality.

There is no doubt about the fact that Red Bull has aced the development and design component of its challenger in recent years and while the other teams would be keen to change this pattern in 2024, former F1 team founder Giancarlo Minardi has issued a warning.

Max Verstappen. Credit:
Max Verstappen. Credit:

Minardi may not have his own team competing in the sport any longer, but he does still have some great contacts in the pinnacle of motorsport racing.

Through them, he has learnt that Red Bull’s dominance is likely to go unchallenged next year as well.

Speaking with Gazzetta Motori, Minardi discussed the current state of affairs for the chasing pack amidst Red Bull’s purple patch in the sport.

Formula 1’s new regulations will not come into effect till 2026 and that means that most teams will look to just emulate Red Bull’s blueprint as they seek to close the gap at the top.

Red Bull was so prolific during 2023 that the team stopped developing their car midway through the season and shifted focus to the coming year’s challenger.

While Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has confessed that the team would be looking to make minimal changes to a car that was already so far ahead of its competition, Minardi seems to have called his bluff.

Minardi was asked if he felt any other team or driver had the potential to match or better the pace of Max Verstappen in 2024.

“Everyone says yes, that they will be. But I would wait a bit to say that,” Minardi said.

“They have an advantage that I think is difficult to close at the moment. Because when I analysed the 2023 races well, I got the idea that [Max] Verstappen never showed us the best of his ability.

“And that doesn’t give us much hope. And then I hear from England that their 2024 car is even better…”

Minardi is a big name in the world of motorsport and his thoughts and opinions come from a position of authority and awareness.

It will, therefore, come as disturbing news to the likes of Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari who would all be keen to put up a better contest next term.

Minardi’s warning seems to indicate that all teams may need to just bide their time till the 2026 regulations come into effect as catching Red Bull over the next two years is going to be an uphill battle.

Read more: George Russell’s dramatic Mercedes fall in 2023 elicits suspicions from former world champion Jacques Villeneuve

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