Don’t complain about Red Bull dominating F1, they deserve it – Sainz

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says Red Bull’s domination of Formula 1 is an inevitable part of the sport.

The Ferrari driver, who arrived in F1 through Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri), insisted the team deserves its success. Sergio Perez’s victory at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday was the team’s 12th win from the last 13 races.

“I’ve never been a fan of being concerned of one team dominating,” said Sainz. “Because if they are, they’ve done such a good job, they deserve it.

“I mean, I wish it was us. And then I would get really angry if people were concerned that we are walking over Formula 1.”

Max Verstappen admitted after Sunday’s race the championship is likely to be fought between him and Perez. Sainz agrees the other drivers are unlikely to join in the fight for this year’s title.

“Unfortunately, this is a cars’ sport more than a drivers’,” he said. “We know that makes a difference more, although Red Bull has a very strong line-up, obviously.

“But if a car is really good, all the other drivers cannot do much to stay in that fight. It is the nature of Formula 1 and we’ve seen it in the past, it’s nothing new. The recovery from Max from 15th proves that they’re in another league.”

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Verstappen started 15th after a driveshaft problem halted him in qualifying. However he was easily able to rise through the field to finish second.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Red Bull won the first two races at a canter
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the fight between his two drivers could make for an entertaining season.

“We saw a great race again at the weekend between our two drivers,” he told Sky. “And if you do have two dominant cars, if those two cars are racing each other, then I think that does create a spectacle in itself.”

However he believes it will not take their rivals long to regroup.

“I have no doubt that the opposition are going to be coming back quickly and aggressively,” said Horner. “Especially as we come back into the European season where they start to come through.

“We’re hearing about big Mercedes upgrades. I’m sure Ferrari are happy with their current position as well. So, you know, we’re fully expecting things to converge quickly once we get back into Europe.”

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Don’t complain about Red Bull dominating F1, they deserve it – Sainz”

  1. I’ve never been a fan of being concerned of one team dominating… Because if they are, they’ve done such a good job, they deserve it

    I like Carlos’s perspective. F1 is also a technology race, so the onus is upon all the other teams to catch up. We don’t want rules that will slow Red Bull down. It is sort of ironic that the teams which were closest to Red Bull last year, Ferrari and Mercedes, also have the least amount of aerodynamic testing time (after Red Bull) with which to try and catch Red Bull.
    When we look at the way Mercedes dominated F1 from 2014 through to 2021, I have to suspect Red Bull will continue to dominate the podium places for the next few years. It is the responsibility of all the other teams to improve their cars so they can catch Red Bull.

  2. I tend to agree with Sainz. At this stage in the evolution of a new set of regulations, if a single team dominates it’s because they’re doing the best job. I said the same about Mercedes in 2014, when it was Red Bull who were complaining about the new engine regs (“they’re too quiet” etc etc).

    Where it becomes problematic is firstly if you have several years of one team winning week in, week out, and secondly if the capacity of other teams to catch up is restricted because of limits on car development. That was the main problem with the latter years of Mercedes’ dominance, however deserved it was in the early stages.

    I think with spending limits rather than “token” systems and so on, we won’t see as much of the second problem with this current rule set. So hopefully we will see other teams start to close the gap, albeit probably not as fast as Horner suggests in the article.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      24th March 2023, 12:12

      2014 to 2020 Ferrari and ORBR had the capacity to match the spending of Mercedes.

      If MB could spend their money they would almost certainly have a brand new car for Imola.

      Ferrari last year stated they had spent to the cost cap after only a few rounds so major upgrade work couldn’t be completed.

      At present it looks like ORBR have some breathing space once a team has chosen a path at the start of a season.

      1. Engine tokens meant Renault and Ferrari were unable to fully develop their engines.

  3. Sainz’s approach is wise, although I don’t necessarily share Horner’s view that things would converge quickly once racing in Europe, & Ferrari most certainly isn’t happy with their current position.

    1. Agreed, it’s unlikely we’ll see that gap close significantly until the closing phases of the season at the very earliest.

      1. @drmouse Indeed, when the wind tunnel-CFD penalty truly starts to impact.

        1. Given their head start, even if it does start to bite significantly, we’re probably talking about other teams closing the gap a bit rather than actually catching them.

          Also, I strongly suspect that if we do see the others closing up, it’ll be because RBR have enough of a lead that they’ve just ploughed their resources into next year’s car. People will start to get excited that next season may be closer, and they’ll just come out at the start of next season just as far ahead as now without the penalty to deal with.

          That said, all this is just speculation. The penalty could have a significant impact and allow the others to catch up or overtake. Stranger things have happened. I’ll believe it’s more than a slap on the wrist when I see it though.

  4. Start of a regulatory period often sees one or two teams getting it more right, nothing new. Does Carlos fancy Checo’s seat?

  5. As much as I dislike RBR, they’ve done a great job and deserve* their dominance. If they continue to do a great job, and the other teams fail to catch up for nearly a decade, they be deserving of that, too. I wouldn’t enjoy it, but that’s how it is.

    *Of course, there is always the niggling irrigation that there’s every chance their advantage came from breaking the budget cap. Unfortunately, we’ll never know, and the way the FIA implemented the penalty effectively allowed them to keep any advantage they may have gained for 2-3 years. However, as we don’t really know how much of an advantage they may have gained, it’s not really fair to use that to say they don’t deserve it. In fact, if they did gain a significant advantage yet managed to play the FIA so effectively into giving them a slap on the wrists, that’s also pretty well deserved.

    1. Charlie Racing
      24th March 2023, 12:01

      @drmouse the effect of breaking the budgetcap is negligible. When you substract a tax refund from the total (which they haven’t done in their books, although they could within the rules of the cap), they exceeded the budgetcap by just 400k. Anyone that is a little familiar with the costs for creating parts and creating concepts for F1 knows you can’t make a difference with 400k.

      1. You are using Horners adjusted numbers, the breakage was over a million

      2. I’ll be happy to take that 400K off your hands. Be a real shame to waste it on not making a difference.

    2. Of course, there is always the niggling irrigation that there’s every chance their advantage came from breaking the budget cap.

      Absolute certainty.

      Unfortunately, we’ll never know, and the way the FIA implemented the penalty effectively allowed them to keep any advantage they may have gained for 2-3 years

      The way the “penalty” was implemented ensured that they kept the advantage of the overspend where development was targeted to the aero/GE aero with less on weight reduction. Now, the “penalty” forces them to concentrate on the bits they left aside previously and for that they can use the budget they aren’t allowed to spend on aero dev.

      Penalty? What penalty?

      1. Penalty? What penalty?

        The penalty that all the teams agreed to when creating the budget cap rules and associated consequences for breaches.

        Funny how some people applaud a team for cleverly playing the rules and the risk/reward aspect to their advantage – but complain bitterly when others do it…
        All the teams knew what the potential penalties were for a minor breach of the budget cap, and at least half of them had the option to do the same as Red Bull (spend more than ‘allowed’) and also accept a minor penalty.
        I distinctly recall multiple team bosses suggesting that several teams would go over, in fact – including their own. However, not all of those same ones did, according to the FIA’s figures.
        Perhaps if more of them had done so, the penalty would have been stronger….

        As to the extent of Red Bull’s gain – even the most exaggerated financial figures (uninformed) people can come up with don’t account for the scale of their performance advantage.
        No matter how much you think they gained from breaching the budget cap, what they have actually gained purely from superior design is much, much greater.
        Like them or not, Red Bull simply got it right – much like Mercedes did in the years before them.

        1. The penalties for breaking the budget cap were not part of the discussion– merely that there would be penalties.

          1. And two sets of potential penalties were collectively agreed upon amongst all parties for the two scales of breach (minor and major).
            All the teams know this because they all took part in the formation of all of the budget cap rules.

        2. Hit the nail on the head.

        3. The penalties were a large range, which included the possibility of points deductions for the season in which the breach occurred even for minor beaches. I think most expected that penalties would be more harsh, particularly given the emphasis the FIA were putting on how important the budget cap was to their plans.

          I would also have expected things to be the other way around: if multiple teams had gone over the cap, that suggests that the rules aren’t as clear and well defined as hoped and/or that it’s been much more difficult to stay under than expected, which would warrant giving lighter penalties and more guidance/help the next season. The fact that every team except one managed it suggests it wasn’t was difficult, but that one team just didn’t put as much effort in* and deserves a more severe penalty.

          Finally, I agree that the scale of RBR’s advantage cannot be explained by the budget cap breach. Most likely, their success is down to the fact that they successfully lobbied the FIA to remove their weakness (engines) from the mix, thereby making F1 virtually an aero-only competition again, which is the area they excel at. The budget cap breach more likely had more to do with them throwing everything at trying to get Max his first title, and probably accounts for the cost of at least one in-season upgrade in a season which went down to the wire.

          * It’s been documented that they didn’t take part in the dry run the year before, and they were a lot less engaged with the FIA in the open clarification process throughout the year.

    3. Speaking as someone who really finds Max, Jos and Horner dislikable, I find it very annoying that a certain set of fans will bring this infraction up forever to imply or straight up assert that RBR is only where they are due to a minute cost cap infraction. As if what amounts to the cost of producing a new set of brake ducts changed everything.

      The usable money difference amounted .327% of the total budget cap for unclaimed tax credit. Even if one interpreted it as 300% of that number, it’s barely 1% and the performance gap is a lot more than 1%, unless someone believes without that tiny percentage the entire car would have been radically different and I’m sorry that’s preposterous.

      I totally get why some fans feel Lewis was robbed in 2021, but the budget cap thing is just total sour grapes. But if anyone who doesn’t like RBR/Max is honest with themselves they know it made at best a negligible difference and what they will lose as a result of penalties will be greater than what they gained by a considerable margin.

      1. As I’ve just posted above, I don’t think the cost cap breach actually accounts for their massive advantage. I think it’s much more likely it had an effect on the 2021 championship, and that their current success is mostly because they successfully lobbied to make F1 all about their area of expertise again.

        That said, it’s still irritating that the effects of any penalty for doing so are so delayed. If the drivers were told that penalties for overtaking off track would be served the following year, or even the following race, I’m sure we’d see a heck of a lot more of them. Similarly, if a team produced an illegal wing but were told they could use it for the rest of the season and take a penalty next season, most would gladly accept that.

  6. I think in essence, yes teams who do a better job should be given the plaudits but there is a slight issue with the current circumstances. I see the engine freeze which was brought in to help Red Bull because Honda was leaving the sport, only to find they no longer are, is manifestly wrong as it’s locked in the status quo on engines which prevents one area of development for those looking to catch up. Secondly the small matter of Red Bull breaching the budget cap leaves a bad taste when they are the team at the top too. Whatever benefit they got will always feel inflated because the feeling is they were caught cheating.

    All the above being said though shouldn’t be used to dismiss the job the 99.9% of people who had no bearing on those items I raised. They have simply built a better car by some margin.

    I think the big issue right now is the budget cap was implemented a year too late which allowed Red Bull to invest huge amounts in these rules that other teams couldn’t match (with the exception of Mercedes and Ferrari). This problem though will take care of itself in the next big rules change where none of the top teams will be able to spend significantly more to get a jump in the regulations.

    1. Yeah, the engine freeze mess is another irritation. It was brought in because Honda left and RBR refused to accept Renault engines again. It should have been scrapped there moment Honda came back.

      Unfortunately, I think it’s probably too late now. We’re too close to the new engine regs coming in. So we’re just going to have to accept going back to F1 being an aero-only discipline for a few years, during which time Red Bull is likely to dominate as that’s their field of expertise.

  7. Cheaters proper – Redbull deserve sanctions not praise.

    Their accountants and lawyers on the other hand deserve all the praise in the world.

    1. Is this referring to the 0,7% overspend?

      1. Are you acting like .7 percent is small? That’s about a half second a lap percentage wise. .7 is huge at the top levels of sport. They got no penalty so will do it again. FTG’s

        1. It wasn’t even 50% of .7% and anyone who is honest with themselves knows that even if Mercedes and Ferrari had another .7% in their budget they’d still be nowhere close to RBR. This is such a dishonest, sour grapes argument.

          1. Additionally, the other teams would still be complaining endlessly it they thought $400,000 was the difference between their current positions and RBR.

  8. Fair or not, the cloud of their budget cap breaking antics will hang over their successes, just like previous controversial title winners. The degree to which being largely determined by the group that feels most aggrieved (compare Benetton in 1994 to McLaren in 2008, or Red Bull in 2011).

    That said, they do have the best package.

    1. Then we’ll have to put an asterisk next to every season McLaren or Ferrari won with tens-of-millions of dollars more budget than their nearest competitors even if it was technically legal vs $400,000 for RBR if budget alone is the sole determining factor rather than Adrian Newey being the greatest designer in F1 history (with Brawn arguably alongside considering what he did at Benetton, Ferrari, Brawn GP and the dominant Mercedes chassis among other exploits).

      1. The difference there being that there was no budget cap then, so spending more wasn’t against the rules.

  9. If the media attention would be towards WCC. There would be no doubt who would be the GOAT? Allthough it wouldn’t because people.

    1. Ferrari 16
    2. Williams 9
    3. Mercedes 8
    4. Mclaren 8
    5. Lotus 6
    6. Red Bull 5
    7. Renault 2
    7. Brabham 2
    7. Cooper 2
    10. Brawn GP 1
    10. Benetton 1
    10. Tyrrel 1
    10. Matra 1
    10. BRM 1
    10. Vanwall 1

    1. Mercedes 8 out of 14 (57%)
      Red Bull 5 out of 18 (27,7%)
      Ferrari 16 out of 72 (22%)
      Williams 9 out of 45 (20%)
      Lotus 6 out of 36 (17%)
      McLaren 8 out of 56 (14%)

      1. @sjaakfoo WCC wasn’t awarded in the first 8 seasons.

      2. You know mercedes participated in the 1950s and won titles? Hunocsi is right, and merc won and left before the constructor’s title was introduced, however you clearly included ferrari’s attempts all the way back to the 1950s, so you should do the same with merc.

    2. There is definitely doubt that Ferrari is the GOAT in terms of teams. World championships are not everything; Schumacher and Hamilton may have seven each but Jim Clark with just two titles was a better driver than either of them, in my opinion.

      Ferrari may have 16 championships but a large part of this is simply that they have been a big team in Formula 1 since the beginning. There were large gaps during their history with relatively little success (no titles between 1964-75 or 1983-99). And for much of the time they have been among the richest teams in Formula 1 and have relatively underperformed compared to this. In recent years they are given a massive historical bonus and still haven’t won a title since 2008. Arguably teams like Cooper or Tyrrell have a better claim due to their ability to be so extremely competitive under a smaller budget.

      For me, there are two teams deserving to be ranked higher than Ferrari in terms of the greatest team of all time. One would be Mercedes, who dominated the 1955 championship, their only full season in the 1950s, while they also won the drivers’ title in 1954 thanks to Fangio, who prevailed against admittedly faster Ferraris. Then since returning in 2010, they took just three years to become race winners, and then won an unprecedented eight constructors’ championships in a row, and although Hamilton’s excellent 2018 season played a large part in their victory that year, and they had a bit of luck in 2021, in all of the others they had clearly the best car. That is a hugely impressive, consistent run of form.

      The other team that I would rate higher than Ferrari would be Lotus, who won seven titles, some of them dominant, between 1958 and 1994, giving them a similar strike rate to Ferrari, but under Colin Chapman they created more revolutionary cars than any other team in history. The Lotus 25 in 1963 was the first monocoque car, allegedly, while the 49 and 72 were both among the most perfect cars ever and the 78 was the first effective use of ground effect. They also gave the first competitive chance to many unproven talents like Jim Clark and Emerson Fittipaldi, while Ferrari haven’t signed a rookie since Gilles Villeneuve. I think it is far from certain that Ferrari are the greatest team ever.

  10. I’m not complaining. They did a fantastic job and the rest of the entire field has delivered a subpar performance with their cars once again.

    See you next season. Not going to waste 23 weekends on this.

    1. But you were around for the last ten seasons? Or were 2010, 2021 and 2022 the last seasons you watched over the past 13 years?

      1. 2012 and 2016 were good seasons too. But yes, I skipped quite some races during the Mercedes dominance and the McLaren-Honda times. Although, during Mercedes dominance you still had an inter team battle between Hamilton and Rosberg that was worth watching.

        Now you can forget about an inter team battle as Perez is slow. Max is world champion again already. And McLaren’s performance is reminiscent of the Honda years. I honestly don’t care anymore about this season.

  11. In other news:

    The MotoGP season starts this weekend.

    Hopefully we’ll get to see some ‘proper racing’ around the wonderful Portimão circuit.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      24th March 2023, 12:17

      😆 lol

    2. Yellow Barron
      24th March 2023, 14:47

      And there’s always indycar. No point watching F1 if you want to watch racing.

  12. The other teams had three options for 2023: either copy the Red Bull concept or the Ferrari design, or stay true to their own design philosophy (as Mercedes did). The other teams’ clones are now more or less on par with the 2022 Red Bull RB18 and the Ferrari F1-75. The differences between the teams are quite small as we could see in qualifying, with the exception of RB who have moved up another notch. I expect that in 2024, when the teams have mastered their copy of the concept, we will again see 4 teams fighting for the podium places.

  13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    24th March 2023, 12:19

    Well, Sainz has a different perspective – if there’s no one fighting for a victory, he doesn’t care unless it’s Charles of himself. The race can be a procession and he wouldn’t mind as long as he’s doing well.

    As to whether it’s deserved, I feel that Masi and Horner would agree with Carlos.

    Some might not agree as fully;)

  14. proud_asturian
    24th March 2023, 12:56

    Vasseur, Sainz – it’s time to go!

  15. Sainz should focus more on his own performance at the moment. As for RBR, they can’t have their cake and eat it at the same time. It goes both ways. With Horner and Marko, they have a case with Mercedes of being the most sour losers team in the history of the sport. I personally rate Mercedes higher because on top of being sour losers, they are hypocrites too. They never stop to lecture other people about values and principles.

    RBR have never been shy from complaining about anything that doesn’t go their ways. Why the rest of the teams should refrain from doing the exact same thing ?

  16. That’s just standards in sports. Fans in general (unless it’s their own team) do not want to see too much domination by one team, even if the team deserves it on merit. Fans of course know their there on merit, just that we wish to see more competition.

    Which is why stuff like AM breaking into the top 3 (over “bigger” teams) is so popular and is generating more excitement than RB dominating as much as they are.It’s not that RB don’t deserve it, it just doesn’t generate excitement. Not that it’s anything new to the sport of course.

  17. But we can complain about you guys

  18. playstation361
    26th March 2023, 18:19

    Its Alonso time to show the skill how awesome Red Bull was and definitely not you.

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