The 2022 season was much more straightforward for Max Verstappen than the previous campaign, as he cruised to his second consecutive world championship title under the new regulations.
The Dutchman won a record shattering 15 races last year as Mercedes and Ferrari struggled to even lay a glove on Red Bull for the majority of the season, as they battled with the major regulation changes.
Verstappen had previously gained a reputation as someone who was prone to mistakes and pushing his car past it’s limits, often crashing out of races when he failed to stay below the limit of his vehicle.
A tense battle in 2021 which was filled with incidents and collisions saw the 25-year-old narrowly beat Lewis Hamilton to the championship and since then Verstappen’s driving has come on leaps and bounds.
Former F1 driver Romain Grosjean has suggested that Verstappen’s maiden title victory in 2021 calmed the Dutchman down, making his driving the following season less erratic and always on the limit, without going over it.
Despite not crashing out of a single race in 2022 and being head and shoulders above every other driver on the grid, Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan has claimed that Verstappen can improve even more in the future.
“Max is technically very gifted,” said Monaghan.
“If you look at his record over the past seasons he’s been with us, it’s stunning. He wouldn’t achieve that if he wasn’t an exceptional driver.
“And can he improve? Yes, of course he can. He might not thank me for saying that.
“I think there are some areas he can get a little bit better. He’ll dig into himself and think what could he do better for a season, and it’s up to us to give him a car to go and demonstrate those skills.”
Verstappen will have to utilise every ounce of his talent this year if he wants to retain his crown for another year, as Ferrari and Mercedes are tipped to be more competitive after initially struggling under the new regulations.
Ferrari have appointed Fred Vasseur as their new team principal, while Mercedes have already fired up the W14 ahead of pre-season testing, proving that both teams are set for a more successful 2023 than last year.