The rules and regulations of Formula 1 have evolved significantly in recent years, leading to advancements in team strategies and performance. Red Bull, known for its impressive speed and dominance on the track, is often associated with success. While many praise Max Verstappen for his exceptional skills, two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen believes that another key member of the Red Bull team is responsible for their continued success.
After the regulation modification in 2022, Red Bull became the pioneering team in utilizing the ground effect formula. The RB19, featuring its assertive side pods, notable DRS advantage, and intricate floor, has transformed into a formidable force in terms of downforce. With a remarkable record of 17 victories out of 22 races in the previous season, Red Bull’s winning streak has carried on into this year, prompting experts like Hakkinen to discuss whether Verstappen’s skill or another factor should be acknowledged for their dominance.
Hakkinen, the recipient of two world championships with cars engineered by Adrian Newey, emphasized Newey’s significance within the team. As reported by F1 Maximaal, Hakkinen expressed, “I am familiar with Adrian Newey and it was with his car designs that I achieved my two world titles. Whenever there are modifications in the technical aspects, he consistently develops a victorious plan and discovers solutions that comply with the updated regulations.”
Although Red Bull’s velocity and the collaboration between Verstappen and their strategist have rendered them unparalleled, there are individuals who argue that Verstappen has yet to reach the pinnacle of greatness. Despite currently leading the year’s scoring with 314 points, a considerable lead over second-place Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s accomplishments and accolades fail to captivate everyone.
Richard Bradley, who emerged victorious in the 2015 Le Mans race, contends that Verstappen still needs to demonstrate his abilities in a vehicle that is not the quickest on the track. During an episode of the On-Track GP podcast, Bradley expressed his opinion, stating, “In my view, Max has not yet fully showcased his skills in a car that lacks the potential to secure victories.”
It is uncertain how long Verstappen will remain in the sport, but it is difficult to imagine him leaving Red Bull. While he had a brief period with the substandard team Toro Rosso, his time with Red Bull has been the most significant in his career.
Verstappen’s talent and accomplishments are widely acknowledged, but there is debate about whether he has reached the same level as the greatest drivers in Formula 1. Some argue that Red Bull’s success can be credited to other influential figures, like Adrian Newey, who consistently finds winning strategies despite evolving regulations.