‘That’s a bit of a problem’: Schumacher on catching Red Bull

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher can see Red Bull entering a period of dominance similar to Mercedes over the past decade or so.

Max Verstappen has now won two driver’ championships in a row, and with his Red Bull team winning the constructor’s championship this year, after mastering the major regulation change, many are beginning to wonder if anyone can beat the Milton Keynes-based team.

Ralf Schumacher can see this new era being Red Bull’s to dominate, with the new cost cap rule making it very difficult to close the gap to the leaders.

“Now Red Bull can shape a new era,” he claimed.

“That’s a bit of a problem in Formula 1, because once the lead is there with the cost cap also in place, it’s difficult for the other teams to catch up again.

READ: Toto Wolff warns big changes are coming at Mercedes

“But I have hope that Ferrari can make life much more difficult for Red Bull next year and Mercedes is also on the rise again.

“But in 2023, Red Bull will definitely be the team to beat.”

It’s currently not a close battle, with Verstappen wrapping the title up in Suzuka, and Red Bull claiming the championship in Austin, all with Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi to come, therefore it will take a major comeback from Mercedes in particular to compete in 2023.

“The Ferraris have been quicker than them throughout qualifying, so all they need to do is pick up their race pace and they’ll be right with them,” suggested Lewis Hamilton.

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“I think we’ve got a much, much bigger step and steeper hill to climb, but hopefully not impossible,” he continued.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes that the Silver Arrows do have an advantage going into next year, with their shortcomings this year resulting in an increase of testing time, due to championship finishing positions scaling down wind tunnel and CFD testing time.

READ: Max Verstappen calls Lewis Hamilton a hypocrite

“For half of 2022, we had seven per cent less wind tunnel time throughout these 18 months to Red Bull and much less than Ferrari,” he explained.

“Now it will be the other way around – we’re going to have 14 per cent more as we finished third – so that over time is exactly what the regulations were designed to do and should give us some potential to eke back some of the advantage.”

Mercedes and Ferrari might also be helped in their pursuit of Red Bull by the ‘cashgate’ scandal, with it looking likely that Red Bull will be punished with a major deduction in wind tunnel and CFD time for next year, further giving other teams an advantage to try and figure out how to beat them.