Are Red Bull Set To Completely Dominate The Current F1 Season?

By Ian John
March 21, 2023

In the first race of the new F1 season, Red Bull were totally dominant, seeing their drivers finish in the first two positions of the race.

Max Verstappen won the opening race, while Sergio Perez. finished second, well clear of Fernando Alonso in third.

Then this past weekend, despite teams working hard to close the gap on the early Constructor’s Championship leaders, Red Bull dominated once again.

This time, it was Sergio Perez who took the chequered flag for the win, with Max Verstappen, who started 15th on the grid due to car issues, finishing second.

However, what was telling in both races was just how dominant Red Bull Racing were compared to their nearest rivals.

Constructors And Driver’s Odds Slashed

So much so that bet365 Sport have brought the odds right in on a Red Bull Constructor’s Championship win to an almost unbackable 1/20.

Similarly, Max Verstappen is now 1/5 to win the Driver’s Championship, with Sergio Perez 10/1 and a resurgent Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin 12/1, with no other driver ranked better than 25/1.

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Those odds have been completely slashed since the start of the season when it had been felt that the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari would have made at least some progress towards bridging the gap to Red Bull that existed last year.

Only, over the first two weeks of the season at least, the evidence suggests that the gap has not only not closed, but has got markedly wider.

Hamilton States Red Bull Fastest Car He Has Seen In F1

Such was the dominance of the Red Bull cars in Saudi Arabia at the weekend, it moved the seven-time World Champion, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, to state that the Red Bull cars were the fastest he had seen in F1.

He may well have been referring to when the Red Bull cars used DRS to breeze past both Mercedes on the straight with such ease that one of the commentators remarked that it looked like an F1 car was racing against a much slower F2 car.

Estimates are that with DRS enabled, Red Bull cars can achieve speeds of at least 20mph faster than any other car, even with DRS on for that car too.

That kind of advantage is unheard of in F1, where gaps of just a couple of miles an hour are generally the norm.

In a sport where technical specifications are so eagerly analysed, and especially given that Red Bull has been accused of bending the rules in the past, there’s no doubt many teams will be wondering how the team has achieved that kind of advantage.

And there will also be a number of F1 fans wondering the same and hoping that at least one team can offer Red Bull some competition over the remaining 21 races of the season.

Can The Other Teams Claw Back The Advantage?

It is perhaps unlikely, but not impossible for the teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and this season’s surprise package, Aston Martin, to claw back at least some of the advantage that Red Bull currently holds.

The first few races of the season tend to be a ‘bedding in’ time for the new season’s car and while the first four or five races outside of Europe take place, when the teams come to back to Europe for a spell of races here, changes will be made.

Many teams will target the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in May as a chance for them to roll out some potential improvements to their car.

Certainly Ferrari, on whose track this race is run, will be keen to try and use some of the technological developments that they have made since the season start, in this race.

In fact all teams, including Red Bull, will likely be making some tweaks to their car at this point in the hope of seeing an improvement in performance.

Now, not all these improvements will work, some are tested, used in a race and then discarded as they didn’t perform as well as expected, but with so much to gain on Red Bull, the chasing pack will at least hope to close the gap a little on the championship leaders.

Will The Season Be A Red Bull Procession?

In terms of the constructors title, that may well be the case, but in terms of the driver’s championship, that could be a different matter.

There have been numerous seasons when one team has been totally dominant and in those seasons, it has usually been the two drivers at that team that have provided the thrills and spills, battling for wins on track and for constructor’s table position too.

When Mercedes were dominant, Lewis Hamilton’s battles with Nico Rosberg were the highlight of the season. There have been many other teams were their two drivers have battled it out.

So, while Red Bull winning the constructors looks nailed on, the real excitement this season could well be whether Sergio Perez can maintain the challenge he is making to his teammate, Max Verstappen.

Of course, the issue here is that Red Bull can use team orders to favour one driver over another and that will likely favour Verstappen.

What About FIA’s Rule Changes?

At the moment, it looks like the rule changes that FIA decided upon for this season have been something of a miss, when it comes to levelling up the teams.

FIA’s initial aim was to promote closer racing by cutting down the gaps between the top teams and the bottom.

Instead, what seems to have happened is that Red Bull have simply pulled clear of the rest of the teams, while the other teams have concertinaed together without really making enough difference to change how races play out.

Aston Martin are the only example of a team that has come from down the pack to emerge as a challenger to Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

As such, FIA’s changes have only part worked and there may need to be a rethink of what can be done to promote greater equality in races, without penalising successful teams unfairly.

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