Dr Helmut Marko says it’s possible Red Bull will achieve the unprecedented feat of winning every single grand prix this year.
Sunday in Austria was runaway championship leader Max Verstappen’s fifth GP victory on the trot – after a particularly dominant clean sweep of every single session including the sprint race.
“Two poles, double victory in the sprint, victory in the main race for Max, (Sergio) Perez going from 15th to third and Max was also allowed to set the fastest lap to calm him down,” smiled Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko.
“This is a perfect weekend,” he added.
However, with 13 races still to go in 2023, it will ultimately be lucky if Red Bull manages to pick up every single P1 trophy for the rest of the season.
“Max is an exceptional driver,” former F1 driver David Coulthard told RTBF’s Gaetan Vigneron. “It’s crazy that anyone takes credit from him.
“He’s next to Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna. But Ferrari seems to be more competitive, the McLarens are doing better with their upgrades.
“Austria was an encouraging weekend, especially qualifying where it was very close. I can’t see Max winning all the grands prix this year, no,” he added.
Marko agrees with that assessment. “If they’re expecting us to win all the races, that’s practically impossible,” said the 80-year-old Austrian.
“But if things continue like this, I won’t rule it out.”
Team boss Christian Horner added: “On a track with basically seven corners, it was a big gap again.”
Some, like Lewis Hamilton, have even suggested that Formula 1 should intervene to end periods of utter dominance – but former F1 driver Alex Wurz says that wouldn’t be fair.
“We are a pure sport and we must not punish excellence,” he told Kronen Zeitung. “That would be too big an intervention in the DNA of the sport.”
Hamilton’s point is that with Red Bull already so far ahead, and with development restrictions and the budget overspend penalty set to bite, the team can afford to already be fully focused on the next car.
Horner doesn’t deny it. “It means putting very little into development in 2023,” he said. “Luckily, we’ve had such a strong car from the start.”
Wurz says Hamilton and everyone else in F1 simply needs to be “patient” as a new phase of dominance sweeps through the sport.
“The stability of the regulations will be the quickest way for the others to catch up,” he said. “We currently have the phenomenon that the other teams all didn’t work optimally and Red Bull worked more than optimally.”