Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey has revealed that the Milton Keynes-based team have switched their focus to 2024, but that it could “possibly” result in their winning streak ending.
With a comfortable 285-point lead over Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull are virtually guaranteed the title, as is Max Verstappen.
The reigning World Champion leads the Drivers’ Championship by 138 points, whilst he’s also on a nine-race winning streak.
A victory at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend would see the Dutchman break Sebastian Vettel’s record for nine wins in a row, which the four-time World Champion set in 2013.
Given how dominant Verstappen and Red Bull are, the Austrians do have the luxury of being able to now focus on their 2024 car, which they’ll use to defend both titles.
However, this could work against Red Bull, who are on track to win every race in 2023.
Should other teams continue to introduce upgrades this season, then it could see them catch Red Bull, if the Austrians don’t introduce another big package.
Newey admits that this could “possibly” happen, although the British engineer believes most teams are following Red Bull and have switched their attention to next year.
“I would imagine that most teams now are probably well into next year’s,” Newey told Motorsport.com.
“So how much development other teams have got coming in between now and the end of the year? I don’t know. For us obviously we’re now tending to switch our focus to next year.”
Even if the likes of Aston Martin and McLaren continue to introduce developments, they’ve still got to try and defeat Verstappen, something which only Sergio Perez has achieved twice all season.
Verstappen is simply in a league of his own currently, with him having the chance of sealing a third consecutive title at the Japanese Grand Prix in September.
Newey believes the Dutchman is very much “one of the all-time greats”, putting him into the same bracket as the likes of Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Ayrton Senna.
“Max is clearly one of the all-time greats and he’s at the top of his game,” Newey added.
“Since he won the championship in ’21 I think that took a lot of pressure off himself, and his driving has got a lot better for that.
“He’s totally in tune. The thing about Max, like all the real greats, is that you have the impression he almost drives the car on automatic, which leaves plenty of processing power to think about everything.”