Verstappen pinpoints surprising threat to Red Bull dominance

Red Bull enter the 2023 F1 season as favourites for both the driver and constructor world championships

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Max Verstappen believes Red Bull are the biggest threat to themselves in the 2023 Formula 1 season, as they prepare for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Red Bull were the pacesetters at testing and even their rivals see them as favourites for the opening race, after they seem to have picked up where they left off with two world championships in 2022.

And ahead of the 2023 Bahrain GP, Verstappen was asked who posed the biggest threat to Red Bull.

“The teams close to us,” Verstappen told the media. “But also I think at the end of the day from ourselves, because we have to stay on top of things and we cannot afford to make too many mistakes.

“I mean, we’re not robots everyone makes mistakes, but you try to minimise [them].”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull during 2023 F1 Testing in Bahrain | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen‘s strong words underline the confidence the Red Bull team has in their car despite facing aerodynamic testing penalties that should’ve limited their development.

The punishment, imposed for their 2021 cost cap breach, should hurt their in-season work but given how they’ve started the season, they may be so far ahead by the time it does bite that they can ride out any difficulties.

Red Bull were the clear frontrunner at 2023 pre-season testing as they set the fastest time of the week, had the best race sim and drove the fourth-most laps, though Mercedes and particularly Ferrari will hope to have some improvements for the race.

Verstappen reveals Red Bull’s best 2023 improvement

Max Verstappen during F1 2023 pre-season testing | Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen also identified where Red Bull have improved from 2022. Though they eventually won both championships at a canter with plenty of races to spare, Ferrari were the frontrunners in the early part of the season.

Verstappen has yet to win a Bahrain GP after Charles Leclerc triumphed in 2022, a win which extended the curse that no opening race winner has lifted the championship since 2016.

“Our car was a bit fat last year so naturally it’s in a much better window,” Verstappen said.

“And what you have learned throughout the whole year, last year, I think, gives you a much better understanding of the car so that naturally makes it better.

“But that doesn’t mean that we are satisfied. I think we’re never satisfied. You always want to do better. And we want to put improvements on the car, which will do.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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