Max Verstappen feels that the F1 teams that bungled the 2022 technical regulations will have a hard time catching up. The 2022 F1 season saw Red Bull and Ferrari take an early lead over the rest of the field with their respective packages. As a result, the two teams were able to win all but one race all season.
On the other hand, Max Verstappen’s rival in 2021, Lewis Hamilton, simply did not have the car to compete against him. Mercedes was unable to find the right solution for the new regulations and as a result, ended up finishing third in the championship and outside of championship contention.
Max Verstappen feels that once a team has a headstart in the regulations over others, more often than not, the team tends to enjoy that lead. He told Viaplay:
“You see this when the regulations change and some teams hit it spot on. Once you hit it spot on and you know what you are doing, you more or less work from there and you make small steps [forward]. But when you get it wrong, you really have to reinvent and try again and you’re always behind and then you have to try and catch up.”
It took Red Bull years to catch Mercedes: Max Verstappen
Taking Red Bull’s example himself, Max Verstappen said that even the Austrian team had to first sort out its power unit before it could become competitive against Mercedes. He said:
“You saw that with us in that it took a few years [to challenge Mercedes]. We didn’t have a good engine but once we had that sorted out, we worked on the car and once you bring all that together, you are finally more or less there, but it took us a few years. Maybe with these regulations, it is less complex but you are still on the backfoot and you need to catch up. But while they tried to catch up, we’re also trying to improve, so that’s what we have to try and keep doing and hopefully show that again [in 2023].”
Verstappen does have an uphill task ahead of him this season. The Red Bull driver is with a team that will be penalized for cost cap infringement in the 2021 F1 season. To add to this, the second season of the regulations is expected to be much closer than the first as teams have a better understanding of the regulations.