George Russell, Lando Norris, Max Verstappen, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Only one F1 championship looks like a worthwhile fight in 2024

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

History tells us that no driver who has won three consecutive Formula 1 world championships has ever failed to extend that run to four.

Juan Manuel Fangio did it in 1957, Michael Schumacher in 2003, Sebastian Vettel in 2013 and Lewis Hamilton four years ago.

Sure enough, Max Verstappen already looks like the nailed-on favourite to win again this year, with twice as many wins as his rivals combined.

It’s by no means already over – Verstappen’s lead stands at 56 points with 422 available. But someone will have to put a serious dent in his superiority in order to achieve that and the driver who went into the last race best-placed to do so – Charles Leclerc – came away with nothing.

The situation in the constructors’ championship is quite different, however. Red Bull’s 49-point lead over their closest challenger is less than Verstappen’s – and there are still 720 points up for grabs.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

What’s more, Red Bull haven’t scored the most points in any of the last three rounds. They were out-scored by two of their rivals in the last two events, a situation which would have been unthinkable last year when they scored more points than their two closest competitors combined:

Red Bull’s increased vulnerability at the top of the championship table is partly down to the progress made by Ferrari, McLaren and lately Mercedes. It’s also due to shortcomings on their side: Monaco was a poor weekend all round, while Sergio Perez is threatening to fall back into the slump which ruined his 2023 campaign.

The good news for Red Bull, as far as the competition from their rivals goes, is that all three are also taking points off each other. This is proving even more useful for Verstappen in the drivers’ title fight.

But while Red Bull began the season strongly, so much so that some quickly wrote the season off, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes have narrowed the performance gap since then. If that trend continues and Red Bull have to start fighting harder for victories, the constructors’ contest could become a two, three or even four-way fight.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

The next three races will be especially significant in this respect, as they mark a move towards circuits which, on paper, should suit the RB20 better. Three of the last four races took place on tracks with a bias towards slower corners, rougher surfaces and kerb-rising.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024
Perez has languished in the midfield lately
The upcoming races mark a return to ‘classic’ permanent circuits, which mean the kind of smoother surfaces and medium-to-high speed corners where Red Bulls historically thrive. It will bode well for the competitiveness of the championship if Red Bull have as much a fight on their hands over the next rounds as they did in the past four.

Finally there is the question of Perez’s contribution to Red Bull’s effort. Four points from three races is actually worse than he did at any stage last year.

That being so, it’s no surprise that news of his contract extension last week was taken by many as a sign that Red Bull’s priority was to keep Verstappen happy by presenting him with an unthreatening team mate.

After Perez failed to reach Q3 and came a lowly eighth at Imola, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner called his performance an “anomaly”. Given that Perez had ended 2023 well and begun the new season with four podium appearances in five races, that seemed a fair assessment.

But in the two rounds since then Perez has failed to escape Q1 and crashed out of the grand prix both times. If he doesn’t get on top of things, and the constructors’ championship eludes Red Bull, many will draw the conclusion that by committing to Perez they prioritised Verstappen’s championship over the team’s.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2024 Canadian Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Canadian Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

70 comments on “Only one F1 championship looks like a worthwhile fight in 2024”

  1. This is why I have always hated Red Bull. They don’t care about the constructors’ championship.

    1. Seems like you’re just looking for excuses to hate (which is pathetic enough on intself) Red Bull. People that hate competitors aren’t fans of the sport.

      1. Hear hear

      2. Who would want to support a team that has cheating history, dirty behavior, almost no support for the other car and toxic environment? I ain’t supporting Red Bull anytime in life. Hybrid era since 2014 is more than enough to explain this, disgusting team.

        1. read oxnard’s post again lol.

        2. I get the feeling you are not that into RedBull?

        3. Are you talking about most teams? Ferrari and McLaren for example I think you can find that with almost all teams.

      3. Well said!

    2. someone or something
      13th June 2024, 15:23

      This is probably the closest we’ll ever get to a self-aware moment for a “haters gonna hate” representative. Most of the time, they’ll try to rationalise their foregone, immutable conclusion, if necessary by bending the facts.
      But in this case, that step has been skipped altogether. The justification isn’t even trying to look as if it makes sense, it might just as well be a parody. A very effective and concise deconstruction, a rare gem of post-modern meta-discourse.

    3. someone or something
      13th June 2024, 15:24

      This is probably the closest we’ll ever get to a self-aware moment for a “h4ters gonna h4te” representative. Most of the time, they’ll try to rationalise their foregone, immutable conclusion, if necessary by bending the facts.
      But in this case, that step has been skipped altogether. The justification isn’t even trying to look as if it makes sense, it might just as well be a parody. A very effective and concise deconstruction, a rare gem of post-modern meta-discourse.

    4. Checo’s sponsors probably have it covered (the difference between 1st and 2nd).

      1. Probably yes, but IF a constructor’s fight actually materializes it’s good for the fans, it’s interesting to have competition, which can’t realistically happen in the driver’s title.

    5. People who hate should not be on this forum…you can dislike a team or driver but hate is really bad form. You can say I hate my job but never third parties.

  2. The justification isn’t even trying to look as if it makes sense, it might just as well be a parody. A very effective and concise deconstruction, a rare gem of post-modern meta-discourse.

    Shouldn’t your username end with AI ?? :)

    1. Nah, that’s our own resident occy…

    2. It does sound some like some ChatGPT post.

      1. someone or something
        14th June 2024, 0:34

        Maybe I’m misinterpreting your reaction. But I do find it worrying how an apparent failure to understand a thinly-veiled mockery leads to accusations of being or using an AI.
        I mean, is it really so inconceivable that one might deliberately use inappropriately big words to poke fun at another commenter’s struggle with coherence? Where I’m from, something like this is a hallmark of irony, not algorithms.

        1. ironically it’s modernism thats in decline and garbage universities on the dole of wall street posing strawmen as post-modernism. I mean, what kind of modernist wants to leave the comfort of big brother’s rule set and be able to think for themselves as they are.

          Thats why you see most faux-misdirected-degenerate influence-rs using that term, because they serve the Soylent corporation. Because soylent “green” is peeple.

          1. someone or something
            14th June 2024, 10:49

            I’m not sure I can follow. I’m also not sure if I want to.

        2. I wasn’t saying I actually thought it was written by ChatGPT. 🤦‍♂️ I was saying it really did sound like ChatGPT would write.

          1. someone or something
            14th June 2024, 10:47

            Okay, but you do realise that’s a really weird thing to hear as a reaction to a dry joke?
            Plus, I just don’t see it. Maybe I haven’t been using enough ChatGPT to see it everywhere (mainly just for silly puns when I thought there must be a way to poke fun at a specific situation but couldn’t figure one out myself), but I’m at a loss to know how that impression was created.

          2. I find it weirder that you have such a strong reaction to my mere observation that A did actually read like B.

          3. someone or something
            14th June 2024, 12:51

            Maybe just try to imagine yourself on the receiving end for a second.
            You write a bit of a mean-spirited joke. One of the reactions is a probably tongue-in-cheek allusion to AI, the next one doubles down by confirming that impression, without any sign of humour, using not quite neutral language (“like some ChatGPT post”).
            Does that feel weird to you, maybe with the hint of an aftertaste of feeling dehumanised?
            If not, we are not the same.

          4. Relax.

          5. someone or something
            15th June 2024, 10:10

            It’s been a spectacular waste of effort trying to communicate with you.

          6. I understood what you were trying to say. It was very cerebral and well reasoned, but ultimately making a mountain of a mole hill. If OP actually feels dehumanized, I’d like to know. There are many things we say and do on a daily basis that if over analyzed could be construed as hurtful or insensitive, but which rarely are, unless you’re dealing with someone who is either looking to be offended or unusually sensitive.

            That’s why I responded with an ironically dismissive remark.

  3. José Lopes da Silva
    13th June 2024, 16:12

    (…) “many will draw the conclusion that by committing to Perez they prioritised Verstappen’s championship over the team’s.”

    But isn’t that a main rule of the game since, pretty much, the Constructors Championship was created? The main goal of each winning team is always the Drivers Championship. The big anomaly was McLaren bringing Senna along with Prost, but even that – not discarding Prost’s versions of incentivating Dennis to hire Senna, something I never heard Dennis deny – can be counted on bringing Honda along with Senna. While Hamilton and Alonso seemed an unexpected success from the rookie, not an option to put pressure on the newly hired double champion.

    1. Mostly, yeah. The driver’s title is the Big Prize. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but there you go. Even in something like sportscars there are driver’s titles, which is even more odd. But humans like cheering on humans more than they like cheering on faceless corporations. I suppose it was slightly different when the founders were still around, as they embodied the teams.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        14th June 2024, 0:01

        Indeed, it doesn’t make sense and it takes from us the chance of seeing super pairings like Senna-Prost more often.
        Unfortunately, as Senna said, “today or in 10 years, if there’s still F1, the driver will be the focus of the competition, not the car (or the engineer). It’s the human element that counts”. So I’m afraid we won’t move from this.

        1. Teams compete in F1 for the prestige, challenge, and recognition – not the title money.

          You get prestige and recognition for winning the drivers’ championship – not the constructors.

          So that’s their priority.

          Added bonus that if you win the drivers’ championship while coming 2nd or 3rd in the constructors’ championship, you get more wind tunnel time next year!

          1. Teams compete in F1 for the prestige, challenge, and recognition – not the title money.

            Tell that to all the signatories of the Concorde Agreement…

          2. José Lopes da Silva
            14th June 2024, 10:58

            Thanks for the note. I wasn’t aware of that.
            Red Bull should get back Coulthard to Perez’s seat.

    2. There are several teams who prioritised building up the commercial brand of their lead driver and making money from that – Red Bull, for example, have said in the past that their commercial model operates on that model.

      That said, there have been those teams that did place a higher importance on the constructors championship. The traditional team on that front was Ferrari, particularly under Enzo’s control, where he was always of the opinion that no driver was greater than the team and that the prestige of the team was more important. Even to this day, Ferrari probably place a higher value on the WCC than most teams do.

      MichaelN, you comment about a drivers title in sportscar racing, but that is a pretty modern change – until the FIA got involved in the 2010s, the ACO never had a drivers title. Even today, whilst there is a drivers title, that usually gets ignored by most sites that cover sportscar racing – most articles tend to focus on which manufacturer or team won instead (just look at the write up on this site about the Spa 6 Hours, where the focus was on Jota and Porsche winning, not the drivers themselves).

    3. notagrumpyfan
      13th June 2024, 20:35

      But isn’t that a main rule of the game since

      I would prefer for FIA/FOM to prioritise the Constructors Championship.
      Have the top three teams on the podium* and the winning driver on the small side podium.

      In Canada: McLaren top step; Mercedes on #2; RBR 3rd.

  4. “That being so, it’s no surprise that news of his contract extension last week was taken by many as a sign that Red Bull’s priority was to keep Verstappen happy by presenting him with an unthreatening team mate.”

    Max couldn’t care less who his teammate is and for sure Red Bull didn’t keep Perez on for that reason – is just a false narrative that British media including particularly Keith likes to push. Reading the article I already know if it is written by Keith or not – his articles are the most biased of all RaceFans authors.
    * Red Bull bad
    * Max Verstappen bad
    * Lewis Hamilton is a god – always good

    The real reason is sadly very sad as well but it is the oldest reason in F1 for anything and that is MONEY!!!.
    Carlos Sainz would score more points than Perez but Perez for sure brings in far more sponsorship money and maybe even more important a huge Mexican and Latin American market for Red Bull energy drinks and as well Red Bull merchandise.

    With Marko influence being diminished following the death of Mateschitz – driver line-up seems now more decided by Horner and with that Yoovidhya. Same reason why Daniel Riccardio was recalled and put into Alpha Tauri instead of Liam Lawson.
    Yoovidhya doesn’t seem to care much about F1 or sports in general just likes the marketing exposure he gets through F1.

    1. Max has said he doesn’t mind which team mate he gets, as they all do. But that is public PR.

      The reality is that Perez was employed again. Perhaps the money thing rather happily provides an excuse but is not the main reason.

    2. YEP! A lot of these so called british F1 journalists are just abusing the sport for their toxic nationalistic tendencies, that’s all to it. They don’t care about fair and honest journalism.

      1. Erik, you are rather oblivious to the fact that you are accusing others of toxic nationalistic tendencies whilst putting your own toxic nationalistic tendencies on display.

        1. Oh really? Where did I promote any driver or nationality? Please show me where…yeah you can’t. Now try again with an actual argument.

    3. You’d have to be blind to believe Max doesn’t care who his teammate. If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t have come out and made it clear he didn’t want Alonso as a teammate when Alonso started pressing hard for the seat. If he didn’t care, RBR would have signed someone else. Checo isn’t the only driver who can bring big sponsors.

      1. but did he? or did the media said he did?

        1. They press asked him about rumours that Alonso might join, and he replied

          “I don’t care who sits next to me. I also said that to the team. I always believe in myself and in my opinion I am the boss of everyone. But if you ask me, I would find it strange to sign a 42-year-old driver.”

          1. That’s a pretty clear sign he didn’t want him there. You really think Max is worried about ensuring RBR have a young prospect to develop since Max is so ancient RBR must be looking toward the future?

      2. Aren’t Australians just former British crminals though ;P ?

        Seriously, do Australians tend to view the British with a positive or negative bias, compared to, say, the French or the Germans? Genuinely curious.

    4. Australian here so no British bias. I absolutely reckon Red Bull are holding into Sergio for Max’s mental wellbeing. You can hear on the radio Max gets flustered and scarily angry when under pressure. Remember all the run ins with Hamilton in 2021? I couldn’t imagine how awful the team morale would be if that was an intra-team fight for a championship. It would be like Senna and Prost all over again.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        14th June 2024, 0:10

        Apparently hiring another driver would be bad for Max, so bad for the team.
        What would be the advantage for the team in hiring another driver, then?

        I would love the sport to behave differently, but in fact I never heard no one – no fans, no media, no Netflix. no one – asking that the sport should be changed in order to encourage Mercedes to hire Alonso in 2017 or Red Bull to hire Alonso for 2024. If no one asks, what the incentive?

        What’s the advantage, other than risking losing the Drivers Championship like Williams 1986 and McLaren 2007?

        Sega released Super Monaco GP in the height of the Senna-Prost rivalry to remind everyone that Formula 1 is a team sport of 1 driver per team. Three and a half decades of history vindicate that apparent odd choice.

        1. It’s arguable that without 2 top tier drivers at mclaren, ferrari would’ve run away with the constructor’s championship, and ofc like you can go too much on a direction, the opposite is also true, and nowadays you have a car that is definitely enough for the constructor’s championship and can realistically lose it because of a terrible (currently) 2nd driver.

        2. Think about it: ferrari won the constructor’s championship easily in 2008, and hamilton’s team mate wasn’t up to par, the same goes for 1994 with benetton, a very good car but verstappen sr. wasn’t good enough to compete and they lost the constructor’s to williams, by a huge margin.

          1. Heikki was the best!

          2. José Lopes da Silva
            14th June 2024, 11:01

            But they don’t care! Benetton didn’t care about the 1994 Constructors Championship! The special system described by Ibrahim Malik in his book, developed by Schumacher himself, was never passed nor adapted to Verstappen or Lehto. In that case we have reliable evidence not only that the cars were not equal but that the team did not care about the Constructors Championship.

      2. To be fair all drivers sound flustered when things are going well (for example Charles and Ferrari Canada 2024)
        But there is a difference between Max and his support team and Red Bull Max and Sainz have no problems with each other but thier Support teams …..

      3. Last race in Canada he was under pressure the whole race, now please point me to the moment he got *scarily* angry!
        You’re just like so mnay Hamiltoncultists. Baseless accusations, plain lies. You got nothing left than trying to defame his character.

    5. José Lopes da Silva
      14th June 2024, 0:06

      When I say that Red Bull discards the Constructors Championship, I’m not pointing at Max Verstappen not wanting competition. Neither do I consider the article biased against Verstappen. Teams prioritising the Drivers Championship is unfortunate, but it’s the game; always has been. Did anything change recently that would make Red Bull behave differently from all other winnig teams in the past?

    6. @f1statsfan I find it amusing how commenters on this site will accuse the author of bias either for or against a particular driver depending purely on their own biases. Just two days ago, i saw the author being accused of racism no less for using an article headline which pointed out a negative stat for Hamilton, and yet one innocuous comment in another article is enough for him to be accused of pro-British bias again.

  5. I think of he is not careful Ver will get tarred with the no competition brush. The best driver in the best car with a patsy of a team mate. Reminds me of some one else who was criticised by Ver.

    1. Sure just keep repeating it for yourself, you might actually start to believe it too!

      1. Well, it’s starting to look just as true as it was with Schumacher and then Hamilton when Rosberg left. Let’s not forget, DR just edged Max in both quali and points over three seasons together. So, the guy is not unbeatable. I don’t blame RBR for pursuing this policy. It is logical.

        1. Obviously verstappen wasn’t at his peak yet when ricciardo beat him, but yes, I also think he risks being considered a driver who only won with the dominant car, like schumacher most of his team mates weren’t really strong drivers.

          In the end I think counting the wins without a dominant car is a good way to see who benefitted from dominant cars the most, I believe it comes up to around 50 wins without dominant car for schumacher and 20 for hamilton, haven’t calculated yet for verstappen, but I’m guessing everything up to spa 2022 would count towards these wins and a few recent races such as imola and canada.

          1. lol 20 for hamilton, he is the driver who had a dominant car for the longest period ever. i would say 70 for hamilton.

          2. Max was going into seasons 3-5. He was just as fast he is now. Lewis and Alonso were just as fast as rookies as they were at anytime in their career. Max is a bit more disciplined in his taking now, but that’s largely because he doesn’t need to take risks.

          3. To be clear, I agree he is driving better than anyone on the grid currently. I just think he is not unbeatable.

            I agree, counting wins in a non-dominant car is helpful, but as one of multiple areas to judge upon. IMO, Lewis severely under delivered in 2009-2012. McLaren had a car that could have taken at least two more titles during those years. It was usually better than Alonso’s Ferrari, but he was the one almost winning two WDCs. Button was on pace to win or at least be extremely close before a mixture of bad luck and reliability compromised him badly (I believe it was 2010).

        2. And hamilton makes up a bit as he had a stronger team mate in 3 of his years with a dominant car.

          1. Indeed. And all those championships were very close run things, which made it a lot more entertaining. We also had great races in general despite of Mercedes’ dominance. Also, had Alonso been at Williams in 2015 when the car was good to get a pole and almost another in Russia with Massa and Bottas at the wheel, there could have been a three-horse race for the WDC. It was sad how Williams could have easily won a couple races that year but didn’t want to risk losing points so went for the safest plan possible to ensure a podium behind Mercedes. Brundle was always talking about mystifying their strategy calls were and then accepted the fact that it was clear they didn’t even want to compete against Mercedes.

  6. The people who run the circus direct who wins and loses these days. But thats what you get when you entertain power brokers who make the small teams broke via insanely priced powertrains, and pay to play rackets like the ones Toto and Liberty have setup. It’s only about ratings, thats why Pirelli are picking winners and losers, and why Max was completely unassailable before Miami and completely no where now, despite having the best team and car on the grid.

    Once you understand how narratives are used to bolster politics, and how finance really works, the difficult details become trivial and the simple equation stands out, … it’s only about people’s attention, and consumption habits. Capitalism at it’s zenith, prior to collapse in to autocratic/micromanagement that eventually erodes back in to the dirt that springs opportunity.

    Back in Shumacher’s days, it was much more about innovation, skirting rules and sponsorships, but with the new ‘green’ (money) revolution, its all about control and power.

    1. Saying verstappen is nowhere after miami is exagerated, he’s still the most consistent driver of those out front and that’s what gave him the win in canada, he’s still the one to beat, just beatable as the car is no longer as dominant as it was before, and hopefully that continues.

    2. @pcxmac If they’re picking winners, then they’re doing a horrible job at it. They ‘picked’ Verstappen to win all but 3 races last year and ensure a dominant championship was decided with 5 races to spare? Doesn’t seem like a great marketing idea. Also, not sure which races you’ve been watching, but the same Verstappen who is “no where” now just won the last race.

    3. Cool story, bro.

      That’s the only reasonable response to pcxmac’s increasingly unhinged conspiracy theories from Lewis being sabotaged to unknown power brokers choosing who wins races and the smaller teams being sabotaged a la Hamilton. If Lewis isn’t winning, there must be a conspiracy afoot.

    4. José Lopes da Silva
      14th June 2024, 11:04

      Put Mr Farage in control and he will solve everything.

      “The people who run the circus direct who wins and loses these days” and it’s in their interests that we keep having never-ending winning cycles since 2000.

    5. You’re going off the deep end mate, take a step back

      1. It’s amazing how much some fans can lose their minds when their favorite driver isn’t thriving at the moment.

Comments are closed.