Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2023

“Nothing negative” in Verstappen’s domination of Formula 1 – Domenicali

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen’s domination of the 2023 Formula 1 season is not negative for the championship, CEO Stefano Domenicali insists.

In brief

Domenicali says Verstappen’s performances should be celebrated

Verstappen could score a record-equalling ninth consecutive victory at his home race this weekend. Despite criticism over the one-sided nature of the competition in F1 this year, Domenicali believes the Red Bull drivers’ achievements should be celebrated.

“I would say, first of all, I think it’s the right moment to celebrate the incredible job that Verstappen is doing in that car,” he said in a recent call with Liberty Media investors. “Because if you see the other car and where the others are in terms of gap it’s just incredible how Max is doing an incredible job. That has been always part of F1 and I would say that this is part of the game.

“I’m pretty sure that in the next couple of years, the technical gaps will be reduced. But if someone is great, we need to celebrate what they’re doing. And sometimes I have to say there is also the need to confirm the legacy of somebody who is doing some spectacular stuff.”

His achievements have won him many supporters in some of the regions F1 has begun visiting in recent years, Domenicali added. “In certain markets, mainly the new ones, you can see that he is also putting an incredible legacy because you know that it means something if you’re able to win so many races – that means you are really a great leader.

“So there’s nothing negative in that respect. And if you look back, I would say this has been always part of F1 history.”

Tsunoda “not sure we will perform” at Zandvoort after Spa points

Yuki Tsunoda “was happy with how the first part of the season ended in Belgium” as he ended a run of seven grands prix without points.

Following the summer break, Tsunoda is not full of confidence of scoring again as he heads to the Dutch Grand Prix this weekend. Although he likes the complexity of the Zandvoort track and reached Q3 there last year in his AlphaTauri, he has never finished a race there.

“I’m not sure how we will perform here because even if Spa went well, much of that was down to the specific nature of the track and even the weather, while Zandvoort is very different – a medium to high-downforce circuit – but hopefully we can have another good race there,” he said.

“Because the track is very narrow, our main focus will be on qualifying well, which is something we have struggled with a bit so far this season. Let’s wait and see how it goes.”

Malukas doesn’t expect to repeat breakthrough IndyCar podium at Gateway

IndyCar heads to the Gateway oval this weekend, where Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports’ David Malukas claimed a breakthrough podium in his rookie season last year and also took two wins there in Indy Nxt. But he’s not expecting to repeat that feat on his return to the track.

“I mean, of course a podium would be obviously incredible if we can match the performance that we had last year, but from a realistic standpoint, if we come off with a top-ten finish, I’ll still be very happy,” he said.

“I think a top 10 finish is where our car is kind of at when it comes to short ovals. Penskes have been insane this year when it comes to them. If we could somehow reel it in and maybe get them with a tyre strategy and maybe we do something that nobody else thought of with the alternates and we can get in that podium position. But a top-10 finish, I would be very happy.”

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Comment of the day

RaceFans’ writers recently shared their F1 opinions that have changed in the first half of 2023, and readers also shared their thoughts on the topics raised. One of those was F1’s reliance on DRS, and if racing has actually got closer under the new technical rules.

I heard recently the idea of perhaps allowing DRS in any part of the track and giving drivers a limit in uses (number or seconds) which could introduce a strategic aspect to it but I am not sure if it would help or just give faster cars/drivers a further advantage.

The problem is that with DRS, and generally on the subject of improving on track battles, I believe that things that would improve the situation are things that increase unpredictability, that reduce driver consistency and promote minor mistakes but this would come hand in hand with a reduction in safety so I doubt that F1 would ever start going in that direction.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Andrew White, Hlahalasas, Lord Stig and Mcl88Asap!

On this day in motorsport

  • 20 years ago today Fernando Alonso scored his first F1 victory at the Hungaroring

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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73 comments on ““Nothing negative” in Verstappen’s domination of Formula 1 – Domenicali”

  1. Yellow Baron
    24th August 2023, 0:43

    It’s not viewed as a negative from his and fom’s pov because F1 doesn’t depend on track action for it’s success and growth anymore! As is evident by looking at 2023 races and f1’s growth.

    They have the fans in their pocket.

  2. “So there’s nothing negative in that respect. And if you look back, I would say this has been always part of F1 history.”

    Ah, that old chestnut: “It’s always been a part of F1” (even when it hasn’t, or has only recently become the norm). As though that’s a good enough reason to keep doing something negative (which dominance definitively is).

    I know Domenicali’s position requires him to only ever speak positively about F1 – but it really is amazing how inward-looking F1 people (both those participating in it, and ‘fans’ watching it) can be.

    Did the ratings and engagement growth of the (relatively excellent) 2021 season-long competition not tell enough of a story? That’s what (most) people really want to see, and that’s what F1 should be aiming for from every season.

    1. Agree, dominance is negative and it’s got worse ever since 2010 basically, before that there was dominance but it didn’t happen 80% of the seasons, and now it’s even worse because a team didn’t use to do a clean sweep, even in very dominant seasons.

      However I’d say they tried to do something to give us more 2021s, the budget cap on paper should bring the teams closer, and the result if you exclude red bull is actually nice, there’s an order that often changes race by race behind them.

      1. Dominance for one or two seasons isn’t a complete disaster – but with the technical regs now as tight as they are, each period of dominance lasts until the next major rules change. So instead of one team squashing the competition for a year or two and then falling back into the pack, it now lasts a likely minimum of five years at a time and they are typically mostly unchallenged throughout.
        That’s a real problem – and made even worse by the fact that there are still only 2 – 3 teams in a position to actually become dominant. The same two that have been for more than a decade already.

        Yeah, F1 did do something to improve the situation, but not anywhere near enough – and some of the things they’ve done actually make it worse.
        Seeing as unrestricted development is not a practical possibility (nor even a desired one) anymore, the best thing F1 could do is to have fundamentally different technical regs every single year – or two years at most.
        It has been proven repeatedly that the year before a major rules shake-up (the final year of a regulation period) is typically when the competition is at its best, as development is compromised and resources shifted toward the incoming cars. The on-track product is better for that twilight season before it slumps again when the new, long-term period of regs settles in the following season (for their 5+ year run) and we all see that someone got it right and the other 9 teams got it wrong again, and it’s practically impossible to catch up until development ceases. In another 5 years from now….
        This merry-go-round is too slow – it should to be sped up.

        1. Personally, I think the opposite is true.

          By changing the regs significantly every year or two, all you’ll probably do is make it likely that the dominant team changes more often. One team is still likely to do a significantly better job than everyone else with each new set of regulations.

          Instead, it’s more likely that keeping the regulations stable for a long period will lead to better results, especially with the budget cap and aero testing limits as they are now. It will take several seasons for the other teams to catch up with RBR, but they will do so eventually.

          1. One team is still likely to do a significantly better job than everyone else with each new set of regulations.

            Yes, that’s right. So by reducing the time period they can dominate for, individual periods of dominance are reduced.
            While performance development is allowed in modern F1 without sufficient results-driven controls, there will be dominance – that’s pretty much a given with the way it all works now – so the shorter each period, the better.

            In combination with the (unfortunately far too weak) budget cap and development BoP, it would provide even further benefits to the competition as a whole.

          2. @drmouse You’re spot on. The reason that the year before a regulation change tends to be the most competitive isn’t because teams stop development for the following year, it’s because the teams have had the longest period of stable regulations where designs tend to converge towards the best philosophy for that period of regulations. We will likely see the same during these regulations – the field will continue to close up and hopefully we get at least one competitive season in 2025, then when the new regulations start in 2026 one team will get a headstart on the competition and dominate for years, and it’s just a question of which team that is this time around.

          3. I agree this is 100% self-inflicted. Convergence always happens at the end of a regulatory periods. Instead of cherishing when that moment comes, they feel the need to change the regulations again leading to one team getting it a bit more right than the others.

          4. Convergence always happens at the end of a regulatory periods.

            And it’s got nothing to do with the fact that the teams all push their resources elsewhere knowing it is the end of the regulatory period, right?
            Have you noticed that it “always happens” in the final year, no matter how long the regulatory period is….?

    2. 2021 was amazing because of Hamilton’s prior dominance. It was the king being dethroned. That’s what made it special

      If 2021 is what ‘fans wants’ then you must include in that years of legacy building. You don’t get 2021 without dominance prior.

      Plenty of championship have close seasons and are engineered as such. No one watches.

      1. 2021 was amazing because of Hamilton’s prior dominance. It was the king being dethroned. That’s what made it special

        That’s not at all what made it a better experience for me. It would have been exactly as good if it were Alonso Vs Albon, or Tsunoda Vs Sainz, for example. The particular drivers involved were far less important than the competition between them.

        If 2021 is what ‘fans wants’ then you must include in that years of legacy building. You don’t get 2021 without dominance prior.

        Again – the competition, not the history. History doesn’t matter to most people in that context. We want good racing today, and what happened yesterday doesn’t influence that.

        Plenty of championship have close seasons and are engineered as such. No one watches.

        Many, many people watch.
        Not F1 levels of audience numbers, of course – but then, no other series is actually trying to be as universally popular and omnipresent as F1 is – nor do they make so many sporting sacrifices to do so.

        1. 2021 was legendary because it was Hamilton, the king being dethroned by the new upstart who wants to start his legacy. It’s a story as old as time. Hamilton has the biggest fan base and Max with a growing one. I don’t think there’s any real argument against this. 2021 was mega because of Hamilton’s then present dominance was up against Max’s potential future dominance. You couldn’t script it better. And unstoppable object meets and immovable one.

          People say that want exciting racing, but it’s entirely dependent on the narrative and context. it’s why Marvel films were good prior to End Game, and while they are rubbish after. ‘Exciting films’ are rubbish without meaning. You can throw as much at the screen as you can, but if it’s devoid of meaning no one cares. F1 does this kind of thing far better than anyone else.

          Cultural relevance is an inherent part of excitement. It’s why Group B mattered and whatever WRC is now doesn’t. It’s why Rossi mattered to a ton of people, and whoever is winning in MotoGP doesn’t. There’s a lot of intangibles. You can find exciting racing anywhere. The best championship battle this year has probably been Norberg Vs Turney. Best of Europe Vs best of America. But there’s a reason why you probably have never heard of either.

          If WHO wins and what their legacy was/is doesn’t matter then we’d all pack out our local kart club meetings every weekend. The standards are just as high as F1, the racing just as good if not better. but you, as well as many others, don’t.

          1. 2021 was legendary because it was Hamilton, the king being dethroned by the new upstart who wants to start his legacy.

            To you. That’s what made it better to you. Not to everyone.
            As I said – I couldn’t care less who it was, only that it was a tight, competitive and unpredictable battle for the entire season, right to the final laps of the final race.

            If WHO wins and what their legacy was/is doesn’t matter then we’d all pack out our local kart club meetings every weekend.

            No, we wouldn’t all do any one thing – that’s the point. What matters most to you isn’t necessarily what matters most to other people. You love a story – wonderful, great for you – but most people watch car racing, first and foremost, if not entirely, for car racing. Without decent car racing, the audience invariably drops away and finds better things to do with their time.
            In F1, that kind of racing doesn’t happen very often (almost never) like it did throughout 2021, all season long. I can’t remember another season in the last 35 years that was as consistently competitive for both the championship and for individual wins. I personally hadn’t enjoyed F1 that much in that sense since the first half of 2012, when there were 7 unique winners from the opening 7 events, and nobody knew beforehand who was going to win each time.
            No doubt you didn’t enjoy that….

            I have watched karting, MotoGP and WRC among many, many other series – each over many years – and not only have I not known or cared who many (often most) of the competitors were, it didn’t matter to me when I did.
            I read books for stories, and I watch sporting series for action.

          2. If WHO wins and what their legacy was/is doesn’t matter

            Actually, it does not matter, as long as it is within the context of F1.

            The series “no one watches” do not fill most people with the feeling that they are watching the best of the best; F1 does. Not because of any particular individual (Hamilton, Alonso, Verstappen), but because “F1 = the best drivers and best cars” is an axiom for many.

            One could argue how F1 is not really the pinnacle because of this and because of that. But as long as a lot of fans do feel that way, for them it is the pinnacle, regardless of how much of that is down to history, marketing etc.

            That is why if 2021 had been a similar fight between “Alonso Vs Albon, or Tsunoda Vs Sainz”, most of us would have been equally thrilled, because then we would have considered them to be the most relevant drivers within the best series, and their battle would have provided an equally exciting season-long storyline.

            In fact, Verstappen vs. Leclerc promised to shape up like a fantastic season last year, until Ferrari imploded. And where was the “legendary driver with a legacy” to be dethroned in that battle?

            You consider excitement without driver legacy/history to be empty and irrelevant. F1 as a series has more than enough legacy/history in itself, without needing any particular driver to provide it.

          3. I will say with confidence that 2021 was legendary primarily because of the two drivers and their legacies that were involved. It’s not a ‘to me’ situation for my point of view, it’s for yours really as your position is rare. It’s just self-evident. We have examples of ‘great seasons’ in other sports, like MotoGP in 2020, which were competitive yet somehow no one cared about them at all because of who won. In that case Mir. So who wins and the legacy they bring to the table during that season absolutely matters for the overwhelming majority of fans. Hamilton fighting for an 8th while Max was fighting for his first. A driver on the cusp of being the greatest ever of all time up against the kid who was going to take that from him. Are you seriously suggesting that narrative wasn’t the primary driver for the seasons’s greatness? Did you watch the media coverage at all? Every producer and media outlet on the planet knew this. Do you think it was ‘neutrals’ who drove that seasons popularity?

            Saying you don’t care who wins makes you relatively rare. Neutrals aren’t the fans sports want in general. Suggesting who is winning doesn’t matter is just wrong. If this wasn’t the case you wouldn’t have home and away fans in football absolutely screaming at each other all throughout games. You’d have sports bereft of sponsorship and investment.

            The market of sports is largely driven by fans who have a favorite, a team, a driver they support. Someone they place their emotional interaction in a sport into. They create heroes and they create villains. motorsport IS a story lived out in reality. It’s a soap opera for those who don’t read books. Its that that creates meaning. F1 knows this very very well.

          4. It’s not a ‘to me’ situation for my point of view, it’s for yours really as your position is rare.

            It’s the very definition of a ‘to you’ situation. As is your opinion of my opinion…
            It’s everyone’s point of view, and every person has their own unique one.

            Please, do try to stop saying “No one cares/cared” when talking about other sporting series. You didn’t care. Maybe even a lot of people didn’t care – but not no-one. Everything sporting is a niche.
            A lot of people don’t care about F1 either – nor the drivers who participate in it.

            Hamilton fighting for an 8th while Max was fighting for his first. A driver on the cusp of being the greatest ever of all time up against the kid who was going to take that from him. Are you seriously suggesting that narrative wasn’t the primary driver for the seasons’s greatness? Did you watch the media coverage at all?

            Firstly, I’ll correct you – Hamilton isn’t the greatest of all time – he is the most successful of all time in F1. Let’s at least be accurate, and acknowledge that he didn’t do it all by himself – his results were entirely dependent on cars and teams of people, and also even the relatively poor results and misfortune of competitors.
            Secondly, I don’t care what the media says. I’m not a lemming who can’t think for themselves, simply relying solely on what I’m fed. I can form my own opinions based on facts and actual happenings that occur and not just on someone’s words and their own impressions of it all. That narrative was someone else’s, not mine – nor was it universal.

            Do you think it was ‘neutrals’ who drove that seasons popularity?

            I think many people came into it from a neutral perspective, yes. If you’ve never seen it before, how can you already be partisan? Why would you pick one as a preference when both of them mean nothing to you?
            And what if you just focused on someone else the whole time, but still appreciated the action between those two?

            Saying you don’t care who wins makes you relatively rare.

            Saying it doesn’t make me rare – people say it here quite regularly.

            Suggesting who is winning doesn’t matter is just wrong.

            Really? Wrong to who….?
            Objectively speaking, it actually doesn’t matter. The world goes on just the same regardless. F1 isn’t that important, nor is any other activity humans pursue for fun and financial gain.
            It only matters subjectively to people directly involved, and to those who choose to emotionally involve themselves (such as yourself).
            I am neither directly involved in F1, nor am I emotionally involved in it. I’d hope you’d agree that that doesn’t put me in the minority at all – unless you think F1’s actual following is more than half of the global population…?

      2. 2021 was amazing because of Hamilton’s prior dominance. It was the king being dethroned. That’s what made it special

        Not exactly. 2017 and 2018 started off with Ferrari strong, and then Mercedes and Hamilton fought back. This is exactly what happened in 2021– Verstappen, by driving…. aggressively…. was leading the first half of the season. Hamilton drew a line in the sand at Silverstone, and started a fight back to the front, which should have resulted in a victory, and a championship, at Abu Dhabi until Red Bull pulled a Jedi Mind Trick on Masi.

        The king wasn’t dethroned, he was stabbed in the back by the arbiter of succession. ;)

      3. The upstart was handed a championship because Mercedes was dominating.
        Masi wanted a change.

        1. In 2021, Hamilton was dethroned by Masi. To this day, what Masi did and was allowed to get away with is a stain on the 2021 season and F1 in general

  3. There’s something very different about this level of domination though. When Schumacher had his run, there was still an outside chance of someone else winning on merit here and there. Same with Vettel and Hamilton. This season just feels inevitable that, unless something ridiculous happens (Hungary 21, for example), Max will win. For those who see the winner as the be all and end all, I can see why you’d prefer to do something else with your Sunday. Sure, celebrate his achievements but don’t be surprised to see fans leave in droves as the sport is perceived to be so predictable.

    1. One thing is definitely, compared to the schumacher era, there’s now drs, so it’s not realistic to keep a faster car behind, and compared to vettel and hamilton I think it’s because this year’s red bull is already effective in a straight line, so add drs to it and it’s a disaster.

      1. True. You can keep him behind in quali on occasion or visit a track where its hard to overtake.. but with DRS its inevitable that a faster car will get by.. especially one with a DRSS (DRS on steroids)

    2. This is what happens when Max Verstappen, the best driver in history, gets into a competetive car. I warned people last year about it, but nobody wanted to believe he’s already proven he’s better than Schumacher or Hamilton.

      1. He had a competitive car (i.e. one which was roughly equal best) in 2021, where he and Hamilton were also roughly equal throughout the year.

        What we have now is what happens when a to tier driver is in a car which is far ahead of the competition, and a teammate who is mid tier at best.

        This isn’t to belittle Verstappen, he’s one of the best drivers of all time, up there with Hamilton, Schumacher etc, nor am I saying it’s “just the car”. But I think you’re overstating it when you say “he’s already proven he’s better than Schumacher or Hamilton”. Put either of those in Max’s position right now and I don’t they’d be doing significantly differently.

        1. Verstappen has a World Karting Championship under his belt and did stuff in karts neither Lewis or Michael could do. He is now doing the exact same thing on F1.

          Those who have watched since he was young, for the most part, understand he really is a new level of driver.

          But this is the natural progression of things.

          1. People said the same of Hamilton and Schumacher. Watching them throughout their careers, they did extraordinary things. That doesn’t mean they were better than those who came before, though.

            If we were to put Hamilton and Verstappen in equal* cars for a season, we would get a very close result. We know this, because it pretty much happened in 2021. Calling out Verstappen as “a new level of driver” is, at best, an exaggeration.

            * Equal, not identical. Same performance, but each car suited to its driver’s preferences and style. Putting them in identical cars would likely favour one over the other, depending on its characteristics, as they each have a significantly different driving style.

          2. Alan Dove,
            Max becomes extremely frustrated when dealing with an understeery car, by his own admission. Schumacher, on the other hand, possesses the ability to adjust his impossible to replicate driving style to any vehicle he is provided with. The influence that Schumacher exerts on the evolution of contemporary F1 cars is truly extraordinary.

            What prompted the introduction of a speedometer in F1 cars, considering the prevailing standard was the rev counter? Who spearheaded the transformation of the modern F1 steering wheel to its current format, beginning in the mid-2000s? Whose influence led to the integration of complex engine mappings and settings into the steering wheel following the ban of two-way telemetry in 2004? and many more…

            Delve into these questions, and you’ll observe how asserting Max’s superiority over Schumacher appears unsubstantiated.

          3. I’ve been lucky enough to watch Max and Schumacher race karts and been on track with the former. In Las Vegas 2009 I was literally inches away from Michael. I watched 4 days of Michael within circuit confines. Every lap, every apex. He was mega, but he was a tenth or two off he likes of Lammers and co. For his age, he was brilliant, but having done the same with Max it’s clear that the latter is something very unique. What he ended up doing to the drivers Schumacher couldn’t quite hang on to was nothing short of remarkable. I think the likes of Lammers are as talented as anyone you see in F1, so when Max would just waltz away into the sunset everyone knew what we were witnessing. Max was just a step above.

            I am Schumacher’s biggest fan by the way, same with Senna and Hamilton, but I really believe that there’s a struggle within the fan base to recognise Max’s ability. No one before or since has done what he did in a kart and we are starting to see what he does in F1 when he has the package. When he was on it he had tenths in his pocket. This is unheard of really in karts. He didn’t have any physical size or mechanical advantages nor raced in classes that didn’t have the professionals in. What we are seeing with max now is pretty much 1:1 what we saw then.

            Look at him on the sim. He is as good as the aliens in sims without having the ability to put in the hours they do. I have as much respect for the levels in sim as I do in reality. These kind of achievements when you collate them together suggest Max really is another step. This is sport, drivers do get better over time. Only in small increments I may add.

          4. Many, many young drivers in ‘lower’ series are also widely considered to be the next whoever (Fangio, Senna, Schumacher, etc) but the vast majority of them don’t end up with the same results, do they…
            It’s all just opinion.

            There are so many factors beyond talent that determine results that it’s truly impossible to have any idea of what will happen or who it will happen to until it already has produced them.
            Results are exactly that – the result of a mixture of ingredients and conditions at a particular time and in a particular place – and in most sports, also entirely relative to other people.

          5. Many, many young drivers in ‘lower’ series are also widely considered to be the next whoever (Fangio, Senna, Schumacher, etc) but the vast majority of them don’t end up with the same results, do they…
            It’s all just opinion.

            I don’t care what other people think about whoever, I have only put my money on two drivers who I thought were going to be F1 World Champions. They were Max and Lewis. When you know, you know. Sure some drivers fall by the way side, but those two, it was self-evident from when they were very young. if you don’t believe me, go read Lewis Hamilton’s biography by Frank Worrall. I’m quoted in it saying how great he was as a kid. I sound egotistical I know, but I think you have to be confident in your position.

            I’ve raced one, and been on track with both. I literally would watch live timing of all kart races in 2011-2014 as I reported on the sport back then. Streaming hadn’t quote come online then. Anyone who doubts Max probably isn’t quite aware of the standard he would reach back then. What we see now is a driver at a level I don’t believe anyone has really reached before. Will it last forever? Who knows. But right now? He’s unbelievable.

            I said same about Hamilton when he hit the scene and people were saying the same stuff about his ability then as Max now.

          6. Alan Dove,
            The karting event you’re referring to occurred in Las Vegas in November 2009. In February of the same year, Schumacher experienced a harrowing bike accident that rendered him unable to stand in for Massa following the latter’s accident in Hungary.

            His doctor at the time noted a basal skull fracture (in itself a fatal injury) the size of a thumbnail, damage to a second artery, a severed brain artery, neck and muscle damage, severe concussion, and significant limitations in neck mobility. Some reports from that time mentioned potential neurological damage, though this wasn’t definitively confirmed.

            While I certainly acknowledge Max as a unique generational talent, it’s crucial to acknowledge the disparity in comparison between a prime, healthy and fit Max and a 40 years old, retired, and injured Schumacher. Michael was never the same after that accident as he lost his reflexes and his ability to be straightaway on the pace.

          7. I acknowledged Schumacher’s age, but even in his F1 prime he wasn’t at the level of the quickest in karts. In 2001 at the worlds (before the rain where he was fast) he was not quite on the pace of the best at Kerpen (where he had ‘home advantage’). It’s worth noting that the 2009 race was won by a deaf driver Bas Lammers. Interesting footnote and one hell of a driver most people have never heard of. But that’s beside the point, I still rate Schumacher as the ‘greatest’ F1 driver of all time due to the fact he’d race karts without ego getting int he way.

            I really do think people underestimate just how good Max is. That’s the key point here. He did things in karts that I have just never seen anyone else do. The level he raced at consistently was barely human at times. For some reason people have a hard time with this concept. His sim stuff is almost the most impressive stuff he does considering the level in that is insane.

          8. I sound egotistical I know


          9. Alan Dove,
            I’ve always recognized Max’s exceptional skill. He’s an unparalleled generational talent. However, being considered the GOAT demands more than sheer speed. While Verstappen might be unrivaled as a kart driver, as an F1 driver, I don’t think he or anyone else compare to the level Schumacher achieved, partly due to the fact that nowadays the rules doesn’t allow it anymore.

            Schumacher’s impact goes beyond his driving. He pioneered advancements in various F1 car elements and protocols. He set the benchmark for contemporary drivers in terms of physical fitness and dedication. He used to be more data driven than both Senna and Prost. His influence on crafting championship-winning cars remains unparalleled.

            Schumacher used to relay intricate throttle, brake, and steering adjustments to Benetton’s engineers. Though they didn’t know what he was talking about because they couldn’t see it in the data. They only started to understand Schumacher’s feedback once they’ve updated the logging of the throttle position to a higher frequency…which is mind boggling staff.

            This is not my personal opinion, it’s the opinion of the likes of Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, John Barnard… The big wigs of the Mercedes dream team… The knowledge Schumacher had in terms of driving and developing an F1 car has never been matched.

      2. Verstappen’s results are going okay – but really, it’s just frivolous to say that any one of them is objectively “better” than the others – or at least dozens of other F1 drivers past and present, for that matter.
        Stating that Verstappen is the best driver in history just plain nonsensical.

        1. max’s results are more than OK.

          You can never say who is objectively better than others, I can only go by what I saw one track while also being on track with Max and Lewis (and I watched Schumacher as close as anyone can ever imagine). We have generational talents. Senna – Schumacher – Hamilton – Verstappen. All raised the level in their own way. I think max really is, from a skill perspective, the best driver we’ve ever seen. I said this in 2013 by the way. The last time I said such a thing was when I was around 10 years old racing Hamilton in 1996. So I think I have a good track record in spotting who has ‘got it’.

          I am a scientific hedged person, but sometimes you just seen something and go “yep, that’s next level”. I won’t shy away from that

          1. So I think I have a good track record in spotting who has ‘got it’.
            I am a scientific hedged person, but sometimes you just seen something and go “yep, that’s next level”. I won’t shy away from that

            Modest, too…

            Did your scientific mind somehow extract the influence of the car, team and level of competition in each case?
            Or is it just a feeling you have?

          2. I know I sound egotistical, but to me sometimes you just have to put your chips on the table and be confident with what you actually think. not dance around the issue.

            In terms of my scientific mind and knowing influence of various factors – My engines back in ’96 were tuned by John Davies of Force Engines, the same guy as Lewis in ’96 and I ran Zip chassis, same as Lewis, and I raced him. Prior to that Lewis ran on John Button’s engines which were very very good.

            I even led a heat or two, briefly. I know the level of competition back then because I was the competition (as well as many others). I wasn’t anywhere near the top kids level, but actually being on track and knowing the equipment gives a different perspective to those that haven’t got that experience. I also know Lewis had an iffy season in Formula Super A in 2001 partially because the chassis didn’t quite work with the tyres that year.

            With Max, I know his dad tuned his engines and I knew who he was racing and who tuned and developed their’s. I was there when he was testing with his dad at PFi in 2011 while the place was largely empty.

            Both drivers were/are generational.

        2. Yellow Baron
          25th August 2023, 5:29

          Schumacher and Hamilton have many extraordinary races each and come to think of it I can’t think of many for max. Maybe there are some more I don’t remember, but all I think of is Spain 2016 and Brazil 2016. As a whole his others have been relatively ordinary. Perhaps the 2019 Brazil one but even that I wouldn’t say extraordinary, great but not epic.

      3. I’d wait until he tops El Chueco in the % win stats. Which may well happen if Max wins the next 71 consecutive races . Good luck with that, Max.

      4. I would say there has never been a more perfect driver than Jim Clark. He was as fast as anyone in history including Ayrton Senna, Stirling Moss or Michael Schumacher over a race distance, but he was also smooth enough to not damage his cars as much as most drivers and was able to use the same set of tyres for four consecutive Grands Prix (winning the last three of them!), and he made fewer mistakes than any other great driver even Juan Manuel Fangio. He also has as good a list of great drives as anybody, with Spa 1963 probably the greatest, while he also proved he could win without the best car with that fantastic drive in Zandvoort 1966 despite a 2-litre engine in a 3-litre formula. Clark also raced against the second-best driver of his era in the same car, Graham Hill in 1967, and beat him. He absolutely perfected the art of trail-braking so was absolutely clear of anybody else in his era, and that driving style couldn’t be repeated because the race after his death, wings were introduced so cars had too much downforce. He was also versatile to win in the British Saloon Car Championship, the Tasman series, Formula 2, the Indy 500, and did pretty well at Le Mans too. I think Jim Clark is still the greatest driver of all time.

        1. I do not necessarily disagree, but I still have it for El Chueco as the GOAT. But I wouldn’t hesitate in granting Jim Clark the 2nd step.

          The problem with Jim Clark is that his career was cut short, and did not have real rivals. Graham Hill was no slouch, but he is clearly in an inferior league. I believe John Surtees was a tougher bone to chew that Jim Clark, and was arguably better that Clark in 1966. The Boy had a terrible accident that retired him in early 1962, when Jim was beginning to flourish, and Sir Jackie Stewart became a real contender in 1968 after Jim Clark’s demise, I really would have loved to watch Jim racing both.

          El Chueco was a bit over the hill and should have retired after his stonking 1957 season, with maybe the greatest win ever (in the Green H3ll) which depleted him. 5 titles seem like a lot but should have got at least 7 in those 8 fighting years, he was clearly better than Giuseppe Farina in 1950 and Ascari in 1953, I draw the line at the near-perfect season from Alberto Ascari in 1952 but the Ferrari 500 was way too dominant.

          About the ability to manage the car, Jim Clark drove those famously fragile Lotuses (Loti?) but even then his retirement was rather high (38.9%), Fangio had 27.45%, which is very good for the era, maybe because he always tried to follow his motto of winning while driving as slowly as possible. Hard to compare anywhere because the cars were different. Alain Prost Le Professeur was also a master of keeping his car alive, getting about half as many mech retirements as his teammates.

          In the end Jim Clark won only 2 WDC but was the dominant force in 1962-1967 and should have won at least 5 of those 6 titles. But the competitors between Moss and Stewart were non really that great.

          Would a noninjured Boy have beaten Jim Clark in the early 60s? Who knows. Would a surviving Jim Clark have bested Jackie Stewart in his prime? Who knows again, but there is a interesting contrafactual analysis in f1metrics in which Clarke is still in top form until about 1973-1975, in those extra years he gets two more titles (1968, 1970) , three 2nd (1971-73) and one 3rd. So we go for 7 titles, not bad at all, for a surviving Jim Clark, but in the analysis Stewart is consistently driving better than a somewhat aging Clark except in 1968.

          Well, rant over. It is hard to compare Fangio and Clark and I believe there is very little to choose between them. I still go for El Chueco, though.

          1. I believe John Surtees was a tougher bone to chew that Jim Clark,

            I meant (obviously??) a tougher bone to chew that Graham Hill

          2. I agree that Fangio is definitely a contender as well, but for me Jim Clark is slightly ahead (it is nice to have the GOAT debate about Fangio and Clark!). For me the thing that brings Fangio down slightly is the fact that I’m not totally convinced he could have beaten peak Ascari or peak Moss in the same car (I don’t agree that Fangio was clearly better than Ascari in 1953), whereas I have more of a confidence that Clark would have been able to see off Moss or Stewart had he been able to race them. But that is a subjective thing.

            And while I am a big fan of f1metrics in general and think it is the best mathematical model by far, I still don’t entirely trust it as a way of ranking drivers, because I think there are too many factors that maths can’t account for. For example, it doesn’t know that Fangio had to come back from 50 seconds to win that race on the Nurburgring in 1957, and just treats it the same as any other win.

            I think most people would probably agree with you that John Surtees was Jim Clark’s greatest rival, and he himself said it was Dan Gurney, but I think that Graham Hill’s list of great drives far surpasses either of the aforementioned two. But as you say, it really should have been Stirling Moss or Jackie Stewart.

          3. A nice debate indeed, thanks f1frog.

            We could argue about the 1953 season until the cows come home and probably would not reach an agreement but there is one thing that for me is very clear: Alberto Ascari’s Ferrari 500 was the class of the field, much better than Fangio’s Maserati A6. With the Fezza 500 in 1952 AA got arguably the most perfect F1 season ever while Fangio spent most of the year in the ditch recovering from his Monza injuries, so 1952 is clearly Alberto’s. About 1953 it is harder to tell, Alberto’s season was not as good as in 1952 and Fangio came close with a clearly inferior car (his only win at Monza was kind of gifted, as Alberto spun in the last corner; the much inferior Giuseppe Farina was running second with the other Fezza 500 but had to swerve to avoid Alberto, and El Chueco pounced and won), so whom do we choose as best driver? Hard to tell. I acknowledge math model limitations, but f1metrics says Fangio was better that year (not by much).

            About Fangio vs. Moss, well, they were teammates at least in 1955 with the magnificent Merc W196 (a very dominant car). And hey, Fangio really owned Moss (40/41 vs 23/23 championship points). However you may argue that The Boy was not yet at his peak. Fair enough. But according to f1metrics Moss was the best driver in 1958-1961, only after Fangio had dropped it (1958) and retired (1959).

          4. Oh and btw I was discussing not too long ago with huhii about the teammate battle between Fred and Kimi in 2014 at Fezza. From the top of my head, I said it was the most one-sided I could remember, I asked if someone could point out a yet more dominant one, but last time I checked nobody had answered.

            Well, I searched it, and for teammates that had stayed together long enough (15 races at least) the Fred / Kimi battle (with a 16/1 score and Fred 94.1% of the laps ahead) came only second to Jenson Button / Takuma Sato at Bar-Honda (2003-2005), with a 21/1 score and Jenson ahead 95.5% of the laps.

            Not surprisingly, in the list of the 10 most one-sided teammate battles Fred shows up 4 times (owning Kimi, Massa, Fisichella and Piquet jr., I had expected Stoffel Vandoorne also to show up. And give Lance Stroll a few more races). Besides Fred, only Mika Salo shows up in the list more than once, owning Katayama and Diniz. The rest are The Hulk/Gutierrez, Schuey/Irvine and Graham Hill/Ginther. Definitely, Fred is the king of the Nightmare Teammates.

          5. I made my own small mathematical model to compare the top drivers from 1950-1958 and estimate the qualifying times if they all used the same car on a 100-second lap, and these were the results.

            1. Juan Manuel Fangio (100.000)
            2. Alberto Ascari (+0.027)
            3. Stirling Moss (+0.079)
            4. Tony Brooks (+0.413)
            5. Jose Froilan Gonzalez (+0.795)
            6. Jean Behra (+0.913)
            7. Giuseppe Farina (+1.061)
            8. Karl Kling (+1.178)
            9. Stuart Lewis-Evans (+1.256)
            10. Luigi Villoresi (+1.325)
            11. Eugenio Castellotti (+1.526)
            12. Mike Hawthorn (+2.059)
            13. Peter Collins (+2.159)
            14. Luigi Fagioli (+2.414)
            15. Luigi Musso (+2.509)
            16. Piero Taruffi (+2.622)
            17. Maurice Trintignant (+2.866)

            So it supports your idea that Fangio was the best of this group, but not by much at all and it doesn’t include Moss in 1959-1961 when I think he was at his peak.

          6. Terrific, thanks. It also supports my idea that Giuseppe Farina was not really WDC material, rather he lucked into it.

          7. For the record about Nino Farina and JM Fangio in the first F1 championship: Only 7 races, 6 in reality (the other was Indy 500, neither of which raced). They were in the same team with the dominant Alfa 158. So Nino won with the same car: matter settled. ok? Well, not quite in my opinion, Although in his career El Chueco had a notably low number of mech retirements for the time, he was out of luck in 1950, with 4 mech rets in 6 races (although he scored 1 point in Monza for flap) while Nino had only one. The only 2 GPs they both finished (Spa & Reims) were both won by JM Fangio, with Nino 4th & 7th. So, ok Nino, you won it fair and square and with the same car but it does not mean you were the best driver out there.

            A quick check in f1metrics adds to the story. JM Fangio ranks best driver in 1950, Alberto Ascari second, Nino Farina third. Moreover, “Fangio beat Farina 5-1 in counting races and 11-2 in qualifying. Ascari beat Farina 11-2 in counting races and 13-2 in qualifying”. I call that owning the guy.

          8. My mistake, JMF had 3 mech rets, not 4. And won the other 3 GPs, but did not enter Indy 500

  4. Indeed, as dominance generally isn’t uncommon in F1, nor are single-driver dominances any more uncommon than single-team ones.

    Both staying put has been pretty clear-cut for a while, although in Bottas’ case, he’s already confirmed for next season unless he’s on a 2+1 form 3-year deal.

    Use limit, for example, like in WSR 3.5, I’d be okay with, but returning to free use, not really, & especially in the races.

    1. Dominance that lasts more than two years is actually very uncommon, and even if some teams managed to win more titles in a row, it was not thereby dominant. McLaren absolutely dominated in 1988 and 1989, but they had serious fights on their hands in 1990 and 1991 with Williams and Ferrari. Ferrari certainly didn’t dominate in 1999, nor in 2000, nor in 2003 despite winning these titles in between years where they were. Same with Red Bull in 2010, 2012 and even 2013 until the infamous Pirelli intervention.

  5. Those who enjoyed 2021 must remember that was only good because of Hamilton’s prior dominance. The long-time king being dethroned is the narrative. That was the hook. F1’s success is based upon long-term legacies. i.e you don’t get 2021 season’s specialness without long-term dominance prior. They go hand-in-hand.

    I think the fan base is far more resilient and understanding that a lot of people realise. F1 knows full well if someone nails the regs next year then the championship will be better and more exciting primarily because it has come off a dominant season. it adds to the spice. It’s story telling 101 really.

    The only caveat I’d add to that is F1 has SO many races it exacerbates feelings of sameness. the tracks all are adorned with the SAME advertising as well. So I can see why there are issues when one driver is dominating. I think less races would be good for a lot of reasons.

    1. Only? Really? The 2021 season was a close championship between two teams, with equally controversial team bosses and drivers, none of whom shied away from… let’s settle on ‘shenanigans’ to avoid a rehash of long-exhausted arguments.

      Domination is boring in any sport. Media-driven talk about legacy-building, and how special it is to see it is often just a nice spin on it to keep people engaged who might otherwise turn off (and cost them money). Does Verstappen cruising to another win in Zandvoort really get crowds of millions excited because he now won as many races in a row, which most people can’t even name in the correct order, as some other guy over 10 years ago, who also won a bunch of races even fewer people could name. This is just a statistical quirk. Its appeal to the general public is vastly overstated.

      In terms of the championship, 2010 was a great season and none of the protagonists needed a period of dominance to make it such. And the year before was also decent even if neither Button nor Vettel even had any prior championship success. Same in 2005 with Räikkönen and Alonso, where previous champion Schumacher didn’t feature much (although in classic Schumacher fashion he still ended up 3rd in the WDC).

      1. Only maybe a bit strong, but it was the primary factor in the championship’s legendary status. It has gone down as probably the greatest season of all time.

        Again, this ‘people turn off’ stuff doesn’t really match reality. Fans of sport really do engage with dominant characters. We all remember Usain Bolt don’t we? Who even knows the top 100m runner at the moment? We all know the names of dominant figures of sport. Dominance absolutely drives interest.

        2009 was a good season, but that was redemption arc. I am not saying you want every season to be dominant, but you absolutely can’t fight against it as if everyone wants a close season every year. There needs to be an ebb and flow otherwise the championship loses value and meaning.

        Also the new fans that came in during 2021 were told “Lewis is the greatest of all time and Max is the new upstart”. They were educated from the off that this season was special because of Lewis’s status within the sport. So even for new fans, the period of dominance helped frame the season and give it value.

  6. Théo Pourchaire’s chances of making it to F1 may well be over. It is being reported that Sauber are looking for consistency going into 2024 and will most likely retain Bottas and Zhou.

    Going into Zandvoort, Pourchaire has the championship lead, Vesti a tight 12 points behind. Consistency is the key to winning championships, they say. But you also need to consistently impress to have a chance of making it to the pinnacle of motorsport.

    Look at the photographs of sprint and feature race winners so far in 2023 () and you will see Pourchaire’s image only once – at the season opening weekend in Sakhir. Much more impressive over the season have been the performances of Vesti, Iwasa and Bearman. And there is also Victor Martins, winner of the 2022 F3 Championship – and now Pourchaire’s F2 rookie teammate at ART – who has several times this year embarrassed Pourchaire with his mature drives.

    Pourchaire’s 3rd season in F2 has, sadly, been his least impressive. He may still beat Vesti to the championship (other drivers are also still in contention), but even with the driver’s title, it is doubtful he has shown enough magic for an F1 team to pick him over one of the other driver’s mentioned above.

    Think back a year to Felipe Drugovich’s superbly dominant drives that won him the 2022 championship. He almost whitewhashed the rest of the field. And even he hasn’t found a spot in F1 yet. So what chances for an less-than-impressive Théo Pourchaire?

    The young Frenchman celebrated his 20th birthday this week, so youth is on his side. But how and where will he find another opportunity to shine in front of the F1 paddock? This 3rd season in F2 should have been the zenith of Pourchaire’s motor racing career so far. Sadly, it has been a rather lacklustre showing, not the near dominance we all expected.

    1. There you go, all: the longest link ever. Doh.

  7. Something’s negative in Domenicali’s domination of F1 though, but that’s an old, albeit still very much ongoing story.

    1. He’s just the spokesman. Domenicali may be a good manager of a running business, but he’s not a particularly forceful character. If he were, the 2011-2013 seasons would have played out very differently.

  8. A cheater in a cheating team and illegal car is winning and “it’s okay”. Apparently, it’s okay as long as Hamilton is not winning, because I remember Jean Toad saying that they must stop Mercedes from winning again. And boy they did!

    1. Mercedes stopped themselves if you ask me. No one asked them to make a creative dud, and then stick with it for over a season and a half.

    2. Awake me when a beached Max is put back on the track by a crane and allowed to keep racing while 5 or 6 other beached cars are ignored.

  9. Dominance is negative because the point in the sport is that it’s a competition.

    You can’t have a competition with one competitor.

    1. Who is the current fastest 100m runner?

      1. And which car does he drive?

        1. Irrelevant.

          the point is dominant characters/performances (team or individual or a symbiosis of both) create legacy, create value.

          We all remember Bolt, none of us know who is winning 100m races nowadays.

          1. My point was was entirely relevant in that, in F1, each driver’s ‘story’ is inextricably dependent on the performance of their team and machinery, among other factors.
            In athletics, it’s entirely a human performance. It’s this factor that makes Bolt’s sustained performance so impressive to people who otherwise wouldn’t follow athletics – he did it all by himself, as a human athlete. His success was his and his alone.

            And you did it again – people do know who is winning the 100m sprint now. Just not you.
            Actually, the World Athletics Championships are currently on in Budapest – perhaps you could show some interest… Noah Lyles won the mens, and Sha’Carrie Richardson won the women’s event, with times of 9.83 and 10.65 respectively.

          2. Usain Bolt was a worldwide phenomenon. Of course athletics fans know who is winning the 100m now, but the reach of the sport is no where near the heights of the Bolt era – an era of supreme dominance.

            Supreme dominance is often a factor in athletes and teams becoming famous outside the niché of the own sporting fanbase. Rossi’s dominance with Honda elevated him to a point where he transcended his own sport. He was somewhat clever in knowing he had to create protagonists, but it’s clear having that era of dominance early in his career is what set him up for the Yamaha years.

            Motorsport is a symbiosis of driver and team. There’s nothing wrong that. RedBull and Max’s success is theirs and theirs alone. And that success will only serve to elevate those who eventually challenge them.

  10. A team or driver dominating in F1 has never really bothered me before.

    Sure it’s better when things are more open but the very nature of F1 with teams designing there own cars & all fighting to find any advantage means that there is always going to be the risk of a team dominating & when you have one of the very best drivers in that car who’s able to extract every bit of performance out of it it’s always going to be even more dominant.

    I think the only difference between the past & now is that you don’t have the unreliability or as many opportunities for drivers to make mistakes that really cost them which means we have lost the biggest things that used to help bring in some unpredictability. Plus you also have DRS that means that even if the top team/s have a bad qualifying or make a mistake early on it’s now become significantly easier for them to recover back towards the front which has again to an extent taken away something that used to help slower teams maintain positions.

    End of the day for me if a team does a better job than the rest & have a car that is capable of dominating then they have earned & deserve that success and it should be left upto the rest to do a better job & catch up. And if they can’t then that’s there fault & just highlights why the better team have earned & deserved the success they are having.

  11. Coventry Climax
    24th August 2023, 12:09

    For a change, what Domenicali say has merit. They way he says it though, still comes across as utterly clumsy. Maybe being able to express oneself fluently, even in not your native language, should be part of the job description?
    And then his immediate turn towards and focus on revenue shows where his real love lies, and it’s not the sports as such.

    I think F1 needs heroes in order to be attractive to large groups of fans. Look at how the drivers are presented before each broadcasting; mean looking male warrior heroes. (Talk about inclusivity, ha.)
    Heroes can’t be created though; they create themselves, by means of showing, proving if you will, what they are capable of. On track, I would like to add, but I’m aware that what goes on off track is also part of it.

    Heroes to some though, means enemies to others, and it’s those contradictive feelings that powers the overall interest. You only need to look at what happens in the comments of this site to recognise this. We might even disagree to what extent that is, but doesn’t that actually just prove the point?

    I think the opposite, with all drivers and teams winning equal amounts of races all the time, and all shutting up like the FIA mandates, would do F1 no good at all.
    Yet that seems to be exactly what F1’s obsession with ‘creating an equal playing field’ and ‘making it more competitive’ is trying to get to. In reality, those will achieve only F1 becoming a boring, manipulated and forced equality.

  12. Look at how the drivers are presented before each broadcasting; mean looking male warrior heroes. (Talk about inclusivity, ha.)

    Without any female drivers even close to participating in F1, how do you propose they weave some femininity in to the sequence?
    Should they use kawaii or aegyo poses instead?

    I think the opposite, with all drivers and teams winning equal amounts of races all the time, and all shutting up like the FIA mandates, would do F1 no good at all.
    Yet that seems to be exactly what F1’s obsession with ‘creating an equal playing field’ and ‘making it more competitive’ is trying to get to.

    That’s two different aspects – not one single one.
    Nobody is suggesting that results should be equalised. What is being suggested is that each result should be equally attainable by all competitors, and attained much more by merit and individual performance on the day, rather than in the factory 6-12 months prior.
    It’s the same desire for an equal playing field that has driven most series to go fully spec that F1 stubbornly refuses. F1 isn’t equal, and some will inevitably get more/better chances for success than others – which is a direct and deliberate limiting of the competition, primarily in a sporting sense.

    As for them ‘shutting up’ – the FIA isn’t telling anyone to do that. The teams certainly do, though – contractually.
    All the FIA has asked is that drivers don’t offend their affiliates (ASN’s) and business partners in a way that would risk damage to F1 or any of the FIA’s other business functions. Essentially – don’t bite the hand that feeds you…

    1. F1 isn’t being ‘stubborn’. it’s doing what it has always done. It’s a competition between motors… hence motorsport. Why would they copy vastly less popular series?

      racing is at its best a symbiosis of team and drivers. That’s what makes it unique and interesting. How many articles are written about IndyCar between races? Almost zero unless there’s some weird contractual thing.

      No one actually wants F1 to go spec and the fan base’s behaviour certainly doesn’t reflect this concept either.

      1. F1 isn’t being ‘stubborn’. it’s doing what it has always done. It’s a competition between motors… hence motorsport.

        Other series (including spec series) don’t have motors? Well, have I ever been mislead….
        Anyway, F1 is currently much more a competition between CAD and aerodynamics departments than anything else. Throw in some internal team politics competitions just for fun, too.

        Why would they copy vastly less popular series?

        You may be disappointed to know that they do – a lot – and doing that is what is largely responsible for the recent growth in demand that F1 is enjoying.
        And we’ve been over why F1 has a larger audience a dozen times already. Global series Vs regional/domestic series ring a bell?

        No-one again? Wow, you have an impulsive thing going…
        Many people see the value in the World Drivers Championship going mechanically and operationally spec. That is half of F1, after all.
        Even from a teams perspective, several people have expressed interest in doing so. If it calls itself F1, then it would still be F1, after all. The F1 of today is unrecognisable from it’s original inception, and continuing on to full spec isn’t that much of a leap any more. A lot of it already is.

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