Red Bull Racing’s command of the 2023 season means that a poor outing from Mercedes might let the beverage-branded squad seal the constructors’ championship in Singapore this coming race.
It might also be the day Max Verstappen tastes his first triumph on the streets of this minuscule city-nation, addressing Dr Helmut Marko’s lingering hesitations about a full and unmatched victory run for Red Bull this season.
“If we win in Singapore, there is a possibility that we can win all the others,” Marko admits. “Of course it is now becoming a goal.
“At the beginning of the season it was not realistic to win all the races. McLaren was stopped from doing it in Monza (in 1988) so the press built a story that the curse would also hit us. But we didn’t let it hit us.
“With our consistent performance, why would it change in Singapore?” the seasoned Austrian added.
“But I have to admit that Ferrari and in particular Leclerc are specialists there. If they are faster in qualifying, they could become a problem for us because overtaking in Singapore is so difficult.
“But I still believe that the package we will bring to Singapore is good enough to win,” Marko said.
There’s no disputing that Red Bull will clinch the constructors’ championship eventually. Yet, a captivating skirmish for the second spot is gaining heat.
Presently, Mercedes is ahead of Ferrari and Aston Martin – but all three teams are vying for the second position.
“We can’t suddenly be happy about fifth or sixth,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is quoted by Blick newspaper. “We should be the runners-up at least.”
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz concedes that overcoming the 46-point gap to Mercedes won’t be a walk in the park.
“But if we do a perfect job in the last third of the season, we can do it,” said the Spaniard, who was on the podium with the two Red Bull drivers at Monza.
“In previous years I had the impression that we were lagging behind Mercedes and Red Bull in terms of improving the car, but this year it’s different.”
Aston Martin’s performance chief Tom McCullough weighed in: “The objective is to try to return to second position in the world championship.
“It’s a brave objective in the face of fierce competition, but we hope to be more competitive as we return to some of the higher downforce tracks.”