F1 CEO defends utter Verstappen dominance

Sun, 27 August 2023, 08:00

Aug.27 (GMM) F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has defended Max Verstappen’s utter dominance of the sport this year.

The Red Bull driver’s closest challenger in Zandvoort qualifying was Lando Norris, whose McLaren was half a second adrift.

When asked if he was surprised at the big gap, Norris said: “No, no. It’s never a surprise anymore.

“I’ll challenge him for probably two laps, then he’ll drive away,” he said, making his prediction for Sunday’s Dutch GP.

“Every now and again you hope Max makes a mistake and he doesn’t.”

Verstappen, 25, can match former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine consecutive grand prix wins on Sunday.

“I think after like five wins in a row, Seb texted me something like ‘you’re going to do it’. But I never thought I’d be on eight,” said the Dutchman.

Some think Verstappen’s dominance is making Formula 1 too boring, but Domenicali told Liberty Media investors in a conference call last week that the sport should actually “celebrate” his achievements.

“Because if you see the other car and where the others are in terms of the gap, it’s just incredible. If someone is great, we need to celebrate what they’re doing.

“Sometimes I have to say there is also the need to confirm the legacy of somebody who is doing some spectacular stuff,” the Italian added.

At Zandvoort, Domenicali then told the local de Telegraaf newspaper that he thinks Red Bull and Verstappen’s competitors will eventually catch up.

“It’s up to the other teams to get closer to Red Bull anyway,” he said.

“But there are probably fans of (Dutch football club) PSV who don’t mind that their club becomes champion every year. And if that were the case, you would have to respect that.”

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