Austrian Formula 1 TV commentator Ferdinand Habsburg believes a Red Bull clean sweep of the 2023 F1 world championship would be unpleasant for the sport.
Heading into the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull have dominated by winning every race, as rivals Ferrari and Mercedes floundered, forcing them to change car concept following the early flyaway races.
Red Bull lead the F1 constructors’ championship from Mercedes by 154 points, with Aston Martin another 13 points back and Ferrari a further 32 points adrift.
“It’s a common behaviour that if something becomes predictable, it doesn’t become as enjoyable,” said Habsburg to selected media outlets, including Total-Motorsport.com, at the launch of the fan-orientated Rebel Team.
“So we need unpredictability in sports to be engaged with it. If Red Bull wins every single race, it’s unpleasant for fans and the sport.
“We need Mercedes and Ferrari and Aston Martin to [improve] and create unpredictability in a traditional sense, not an artificial one.
“I don’t like when the FIA gets too involved and makes it a bit too artificial, when they just start forcing cars to get slower. I’m hoping that the nature of [the] sport will sort itself out.”
Close midfield helping to identify special drivers
Along with Red Bull, four other teams have finished on the podium in 2023, whilst all but two drivers, Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant, have scored points in 2023.
Habsburg, who races in the World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series, is enjoying the battle behind Red Bull.
“The best thing we got this year is that the mid-pack every race weekend can qualify almost within a second,” said Habsburg. “You don’t have the Haas or the Williams trailing two seconds behind.
“[One] thing that’s clear is the Alpine is at the head of the mid-pack. I’d say AlphaTauri is consistently at the back, with the Haas, and then it’s very dependent [on the] circuit.
“What’s cool is the teams are so close, the driver matters more. So you can see a young, inexperienced guy like Sargeant, [the] difference to Alex Albon is much clearer.
“That means you can judge drivers even more aggressively than we used to, and I think that will identify special drivers in lower-performing cars.”
Drive to Survive boom helping motorsport grow
Following Netflix‘s Drive To Survive’s premiere in 2019, a new wave of fans hves been introduced to motorsport, with MotoGP and IndyCar also having bespoke documentaries to try and recreate the success F1 had.
WEC, with a plethora of manufacturers, have also enjoyed a spike in interest, with the centenary Le Mans 24 Hours attracting a sell-out crowd of 325,000 who watched Ferrari win for the first time since 1965.
“It’s become easier to impress people when I call myself a racing driver now because they [now] understand what that means,” said Habsburg. “It’s had an impact [and] It’s been well timed this year.
“We had the 100th anniversary of Le Mans, which means we had 325,000 fans at the track. It was the wildest experience I’ve ever had in my life.
“I [now] understood why Lewis Hamilton [has] security [guards], you can’t get to meetings, you need to run through [fans]. So it’s had a huge impact on how many people turned up at races.
“WEC has done a really good job at promoting itself and its own special selling point where you have endless amounts of entertainment at races., But Drive to Survive had a positive impact.”
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
The next F1 race is the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix which will be the second sprint weekend of the year, held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on June 30 to July 2.