Is Max Verstappen preparing for an F1 2024 title fight? Tough Canadian GP forecast

With Ferrari and McLaren closing the gap to Red Bull, could we see an F1 title fight in 2024?

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Across the previous three Formula 1 races, Red Bull have being lagging their rivals behind on pace leaving fans wondering if there is a title fight heading into the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix, but if there is, Max Verstappen doesn’t care too much about it as he focuses on helping his team recover form.

The defending world champions have found it very hard to manage the bumps and kerbs at the Miami International Autodrome, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and the Circuit de Monaco, leaving them vulnerable to McLaren and Ferrari who have beaten them either side of Verstappen’s Imola win.

It means his lead in the F1 standings has been cut down to 31 points ahead of Charles Leclerc, so a bad weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve could see the Dutchman be placed under genuine championship pressure for the first time since the 2022 French GP, so what does he make of it all?

“I still feel the same,” Verstappen told select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com, on the prospect of a title fight. “I just tried to focus on what we have here. I think we have plenty to work on. We do that already.  

“Naturally after Monaco, I think we have a good direction to work in and that’s actually quite exciting. I’m not focused on what the others are doing because that’s just the waste of time and energy.

“We know that from our side there are things that we can do better, and that’s what we’ll focus on. I’m sure that if we do those things well, we have a very, very strong team this weekend.”

George Russell of Mercedes leads. Max Verstappen at the start of the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
George Russell of Mercedes leads. Max Verstappen at the start of the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen on Canadian GP chances

The race in Montreal will feature another track that will be problematic for Red Bull due to the need to attack the kerbs in Turns 3 and 4, Turns 8 and 9 and Turns 12 and 13, which is crucial for lap-time.

This is an area that McLaren and Ferrari, in particular, seem to excel in compared to Pierre Wache’s team whilst even Mercedes managed to be on the same pace as Red Bull in Monaco, causing concern for their chances in Canada.

The races in Miami and Monaco even saw Verstappen make some rare mistakes, giving himself damage in the United States and messing up his final Q3 lap in Monte Carlo. It left the Dutchman without his usual confidence ahead of the 70-lap race in Canada.

“This is something that we know is not our favourite thing in the world,” Verstappen told media ahead of the race weekend. “But it’s something that we’re working on to try and make better.

“We make mistakes from time to time, and this is not something that is solved from one to the other week, but for sure we’ll try to optimise things.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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