The main criticism of Max Verstappen in recent year is that he lacks the consistency of the other title challengers on the grid, often pushing past the limit and making big mistakes when battling with other drivers.
In 2022 however this has not been the case, after Romain Grosjean suggested that the Dutchman’s first championship win calmed Verstappen, he has stormed to a stunning 15 race wins and almost flawlessly secured his second consecutive championship.
Ferrari looked to push Red Bull all the way under the new regulations, but reliability issues and strategy mistakes saw the team repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot and take themselves out of contention for both championships.
Ferrari senior performance engineer Jock Clear has suggested that it was Red Bull’s consistency and adaptability that saw them pull clear of the Scuderia, likening them to a boxing legend.
“There were times when it was a bit of a Muhammad Ali approach,” he suggested.
“It looked like you’ve got them on the ropes and they just squirm a bit and come out and ‘bang’. And you are like: ‘Oh my God, where did they find that?’
“I think that’s just the experience they’ve had as World Champions. And that’s what we have to get used to doing. This year has been a great help. We’ve been at the front, we’ve been fighting at the front.”
Ferrari will be hoping that a change in leadership will pay dividends in 2023, as the team have chosen to replace the resigning Mattia Binotto with Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur for next season.
Fans have suggested that the problem at Ferrari is deeper rooted and that Vasseur should be allowed to change members of the strategy and engineering team, but only time will tell if the Frenchman will get this freedom.
Red Bull will have to battle with ten percent less wind tunnel time than they were expecting in 2023, as punishment for their breach of the 2021 cost cap, meaning that Vasseur and his team will already have a significant headstart on the energy drink giants next season.