Guenther Steiner makes Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen prediction

Charles Leclerc took the fight to Max Verstappen in 2022 but failed to repeat this in 2023.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes Red Bull and Max Verstappen will be challenged for the titles in 2024, with Charles Leclerc being the driver that Steiner would like to see become World Champion.

Leclerc put up no fight for the title in 2023, mostly due to a mixture of poor performances and a bad car in the first half of the season.

Ferrari’s pace was wildly inconsistent for the bulk of the recently completed campaign, before they made some progress in the latter stages.

2023 was weaker than Leclerc’s 2022 campaign, where he took the fight to Verstappen for the vast majority of the season.

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In Leclerc’s defence, nobody seriously challenged the Red Bull driver in 2023, with Verstappen having won the title by a huge 290 points over Sergio Perez.

To put Verstappen’s ridiculous advantage into some context, 290 points is the equivalent of 11 wins and a third-place finish.

Despite how easily the Dutchman won the recent season, Steiner thinks the 26-year-old will be challenged in 2024, with Lewis Hamilton always being a contender.

“I think somebody will challenge Red Bull and Max [Verstappen] next year I would say,” Steiner told Sky Sports F1.

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“I think that we will have that one in 2024, for me Lewis [Hamilton], I don’t think he will stop.

“I mean physically you would never think that he’s 38 or next year 39, you would never think that’s, he’s very fit.

“I don’t think he’s ready to stop doing it because I think he likes what he does.

If someone can beat Verstappen to the 2024 Drivers’ Championship or in 2025, Steiner wants it to be Leclerc due to his own “self-interest”.

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The Haas boss recognises that if Leclerc won the championship, then it means Ferrari must’ve had an exceptional package, something which would benefit Haas as a customer side of the Italians.

“Who succeeds Max as champion, either next year or in another year?” Sky F1 journalist Craig Slater asked Steiner.

Steiner replied: “I hope Charles [Leclerc] because that means they’ve got a good package and then we have got a good package as well, that’s my self-interest!”