Felipe Massa makes huge claim about Max Verstappen amid Red Bull penalty

Red Bull were penalised by the FIA for breaching the 2021 budget cap, as Max Verstappen defeated Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull was hit by a substantial $7 million fine over a breach of the cost cap during the 2021 season, which ended with Max Verstappen securing his first Drivers’ title.

Having reviewed the team’s finances, the FIA announced the punishment in the closing rounds of the 2022 season, with the financial hit and reduction in wind tunnel time for the 2023 campaign.

Red Bull already was on course to receive the least amount of wind tunnel time of any of the 2023 teams, having won the title in 2022, with a further 10 percent cut as a result of the breach.

Despite the restrictions, Red Bull has managed to build up a runaway lead after just five rounds, with over double the points of their closest rivals Aston Martin.

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With the Imola Grand Prix cancelled, teams will be returning to their home bases ahead of next week’s Monaco race, an iconic feature of the calendar.

Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari are among those who are working on rolling out upgrade packages in a bid to get back on level with Red Bull.

Even with the impending effects of the punishment for the cost cap breach, former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa believes that “It is hard to think that the limitations in the wind tunnel will affect their competitiveness.”

The RB19 appears to have unparalleled performance capabilities, as it shows its dominance over the rest of the field, particularly with its DRS advantage.

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“Max Verstappen has been proving for some time now that he is a phenomenon,” Massa said. 

“What he is doing, in terms of wins and performances, can be compared to the best moments we have seen of [Ayrton] Senna, Schumacher or Hamilton.

 “He is at the same level, plus he is very young and has many years of racing ahead of him, so he can break all records, overtaking Michael and Lewis, if he is willing to continue in Formula 1 for a long time.

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“I expect him to win his third title this season and then win many more. If we talk about quality, apart from the perfection of his driving, the coolness that Verstappen manages to maintain in the most important moments is impressive.

“He is always lucid, he knows how to make the right decisions, and he is able to work together with the team like few others. He has a lot of say within the team and everyone follows him and is on his side. The combination of him and Red Bull is still the one to beat this year. The best driver with the fastest car.”

Verstappen currently leads the Drivers’ race on 119 points, just 14 ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez and 44 clear of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.