Significant alterations to the Formula One qualifying format are reportedly on the horizon, and these changes could spell a new challenge for Red Bull’s unparalleled performance.
The RB19 has proven to be a formidable force, currently touted as the most dominant car in the annals of Formula One. Recently, Red Bull achieved a remarkable milestone, extending their consecutive win streak to an impressive 13 races (excluding sprint events). The team’s exceptional performance leaves little room to doubt the possibility of further triumphs.
RB19 – Best of all time?
Past dominant cars in F1
To etch its name as the best of all time, the RB19 must surpass some illustrious predecessors. The McLaren MP4/4 of 1988, driven by legends Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, stands as a benchmark, clinching victory in 15 out of 16 races that season. Notably, both Senna and Prost lapped the competition twice, with the winner finishing over 50 seconds ahead of the nearest rival on six occasions, solidifying its status as a symbol of dominance.
The Mercedes W05 of 2014 also holds its place in the dominance debate. Initiating a stretch of unparalleled supremacy, the car secured victory in 16 of 19 races and claimed pole position in all but one. Its average winning margin over the closest non-Mercedes competitor was a commanding 23 seconds.
While contenders like the early turbo-hybrid era Mercedes and Ferrari’s 2002 season present noteworthy cases, the RB19 stands out in terms of sheer dominance. Determining a car’s dominance involves assessing its results, speed, and significance. Dominance hinges on securing victories and accumulating the highest points tally, with Sunday triumphs carrying utmost importance.
While history boasts other iconic Formula One cars, such as the legendary MP4/4 with its storied 35-year legacy or the championship-winning Ferrari 312T and revolutionary Lotus 78, these cars, despite their significance, cannot claim the title of the most dominant in the sport’s history. Red Bull’s exceptional track record and statistics lend credibility to their claim to dominance.
F1 plans to crush Red Bull dominance
Auto Motor und Sport has unveiled plans that could see the elimination of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) during qualifying sessions. The DRS, a device that adjusts the angle of the rear wing to reduce aerodynamic drag, has notably played into Red Bull’s favour, particularly in their RB19 model.
During the recent race at Spa-Francorchamps, even in low downforce mode, the RB19 demonstrated exceptional gains with active DRS, outshining its competitors lap after lap. On the Kemmel straight, Red Bull achieved an impressive speed increase of over 20 km/h (12.4 mph), significantly surpassing Mercedes’ gain of 13 km/h (8 mph).
Red Bull’s formidable dominance in the 2023 season, securing an astounding 12 victories in as many races, has raised concerns about the sport’s competitive equilibrium. The team’s unwavering success has left contenders trailing in their wake.
Changes to qualifying planned
While Mercedes briefly held a competitive stance at Barcelona, their subsequent performances failed to match that feat. McLaren exhibited promising potential at Silverstone, yet struggles persist at their headquarters in Woking. Ferrari and Aston Martin have struggled to close the gap, leaving Red Bull’s dominance unchallenged.
The proposed DRS changes to the qualifying rules could be viewed as an acknowledgement of Red Bull’s engineering prowess led by figures like Adrian Newey and Christian Horner. However, this potential shift has inevitably stirred discussions within the team, as they may prefer the status quo. No doubt the bosses in Milton Keynes will be pushing to stop any changes angled at hobbling their performance.
Yet, even if these alterations come to fruition, the brilliance of Red Bull’s star driver, Max Verstappen, in the RB19 may still prevail. Verstappen’s exceptional skills have played a pivotal role in his double world championship triumph, making it uncertain whether the anticipated changes will significantly disrupt his dominance in the sport.