Red Bull’s dominant start to the 2023 Formula 1 season isn’t a turn-off for newcomers to the sport, the series’ CEO Stefano Domenicali believes.
Speaking at a Liberty Media conference of F1 investors, Domenicali said long-time “avid fans” of the sport were more concerned about the lack of competition at the front end of the grid than those who have recently started watching.
Red Bull won the opening three races of the new season from pole position, continuing a dominant streak which began in the middle of last year, since when they have won 13 out of 14 grands prix. Their RB19 has proved capable of lapping up to a second per lap faster than its rivals in races.
Domenicali said Red Bull deserve credit for their strong start to the season. “First of all, if a team is faster than the others, congratulations,” he began. “They did a better job than the others.”
He is confident their rivals will close the gap over the coming races. “If you look at the others, the bunch of the other teams are very close. Very, very close.
“I’m very confident that with the budget cap, this situation will evolve in the best way for the better competition.”
However he is not concerned Red Bull’s dominance will have a negative effect on F1’s popularity at a time when interest in it is growing. “What is interesting to see in the new markets when the new audience is coming in, that [Red Bull’s dominance] is not a real important factor,” Domenicali explained.
“It’s more for the avid fans that if you see a car that is dominant, that’s creating a level of less interest. For the new market, for the new fans that are coming to the business, this is not really very important.”
Nonetheless he stressed F1 does want to see a close contest. “For us it’s important because we want to make sure there is a great competition in the ecosystem,” said Domenicali.
“But I would say if I look today in the market where we are growing, this factor is not so relevant as you think. This is in a way very interesting to share, but that’s the truth.”
Three races into the new season, Red Bull already lead the constructors championship with 123 points to Aston Martin’s 65. However Domenicali said it is “too early and too premature” to conclude Red Bull will run away with the championship.
“For sure we see in the first three races Red Bull was very competitive. I’m expecting the others to catch up.
“We need to wait and see the effect of the penalty they had last year with the wind tunnel reduction. The championship is very long and I think we are going to have good surprises before the end.”
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