Formula 1: Mercedes boss accepts Red Bull dominance

Red Bull delivered a season for the history books in 2023. 21 of the 22 race victories were won by the Bulls. Max Verstappen alone achieved 19 of these, breaking his own win record (15) from the previous year.

The three-time world champion won ten races in a row from Miami to Monza – also a new record. Just like the fact that he was on the podium 21 times and achieved 575 out of a possible 620 points. The gap to the World Championship runner-up has never been greater in Formula 1 at 290 points.

The competition had no chance against the 26-year-old and his RB19 – neither did his teammate Sergio Perez. Accordingly, it was clear early on that Verstappen would defend his title and the tension was gone from the World Championship fight.

From Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff’s point of view, this does not affect the popularity of the sport, even if Red Bull’s current dominance seems to be even greater than that of his own team a few years ago.

“The numbers we’re seeing are strong,” says Wolff about the state of Formula 1. “We’re growing on social media, we’re seeing races that are full and sold out.”

“I don’t know what the Italian TV numbers look like, whether they have fallen or not. But basically it’s all about the spectacle. If the spectacle is not good, our fans will follow us less,” analyzes the Austrian.

Formula 1: Red Bull opponents have to get better

And he adds: “What I always say in this sport: I like honesty. The spectacle follows the sport. And sport is a meritocracy. Whoever does the best work wins. And if someone does a much better job than everyone else, then he wins 19 races (like Verstappen; editor’s note).”

“That’s a fact. So we and Ferrari and all the other teams have to do a better job to be able to compete with Red Bull Racing,” emphasizes the team boss, who finished second with Mercedes, 451 points behind the world champion.

“Of course, if there is a certain amount of backlog, there is a risk that people will say: Well, I know the result anyway,” admits Wolff. “That’s what happened to us with Lewis for many years. But it’s up to us to simply do a better job. And I don’t want to wait until the new regulations in 2026 to do that.”