Formula 1 won't 'manipulate' the rules to stop Red Bull

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 in parc ferme. 04.06.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images
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Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has said there will be no changes to the sport's rules and regulations designed to slow down Red Bull's seemingly inexorable march to a third consecutive world championship for Max Verstappen.

Red Bull has won all seven Grand Prix races so far in 2023, with five victories for Verstappen and two more for his team mate Sergio Perez in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.

It's a level of total domination that even Mercedes didn't achieve during its recent golden age, and comes despite new rules introduced in 2022 to try and tighten up the competition and level the playing field among the ten teams.

The possibility of one team sweeping all 22 races this season has led to fears that it might be a 'turn off' for fans attracted to the sport by recent epic battles such as the 2021 cliffhanger between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

But Domenicali rejected suggestions that Formula 1 should step in and tweak the rules to bring Red Bull back into line and make it a closer battle.

Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Formula One President and CEO. 02.06.2023 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Practice Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"We cannot be seen as part of manipulation. This is not correct, and this is not fair," he told the latest edition of the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

In his view, the sport would be better served by keeping the rules exactly as they are, which will allow Red Bull's rivals to find ways of closing the gaps all by themselves.

“F1 has been always a sport where there has been cycles where teams were very dominant and then some others came into the equation," he pointed out.

“I think that's the right approach now," he said. "Also because the rules have been changed not many years ago. Therefore, this will happen for sure.

“So I would say our objectives should be, if you take this strategic approach, to make sure that these cycles in the future will be shorter.

2nd place Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing with 1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. 07.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Miami Grand Prix, Miami, Florida, USA, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"It will be interesting to see if the development curve of the team that today is leading will slow down," he added. "At the end of the day, they did a better job in the shorter term.

"That will be very interesting to see in the next couple of months," he mused. “I'm sure that the other teams are watching how they can catch up with their development in the context of the budget cap."

Domenicali also pointed out that while Red Bull is currently the runaway leader in the championship, the rest of the teams were actually very close with fortunes swinging first one way and then the other the following week.

“I think that the gap is between one team and the others,” he suggested. "It's true that the gap seems to be big, but we need to be prudent because we know in life things can change very quickly.

“The others are very, very close," he continued. "If you look at the gaps to the other teams, I think that [Red Bull] did an incredible job, which needs to be rewarded.

Stefano Domenicali (ITA) Formula One President and CEO on the grid. 28.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

"It's clear that the aim of what we want to do is to make sure that these gaps will stay as small as possible," he added.

But for now, the message from Domenicali is clear: the teams are on their own and it's up their technical departments to find a way to close the gap to Red Bull in 2023.

Verstappen currently leads the drivers championship with 170 points, 53 points ahead of Perez with Fernando Alonso a further 18 points behind followed by Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

In the constructors standings, Red Bull has amassed a huge 287 points from the races so far with Mercedes second on 152 points just ahead of Aston Martin, leaving Ferrari a disappointing fourth having started the year with high hopes.

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