(GMM) F1 legend Alain Prost admits he has enjoyed watching Max Verstappen crush everyone in 2022 and again in 2023.
Until now, the most dominant performance in Formula 1 history was when Prost and Ayrton Senna famously won all but one of the races in 1988 for McLaren – representing a 94 percent winning hit-rate.
But Red Bull’s 21 wins out of 22 raised that winning percentage to a new all-time record – a 95.5 percent winning hit-rate.
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali admits he’d like a more competitive contest in 2024.
“Next year I’m hoping for more cars that can fight with each other,” he told Sky Deutschland at the Abu Dhabi finale.
“In qualifying here, we had all 20 cars within a second. That means we can hope for a season where driver skill makes the difference. That’s the important thing for us.”
Quadruple world champion Prost, however, says that despite Verstappen’s dominance, he enjoyed following the 2023 season.
“I watched as a fan as I’m no longer involved with any team,” said the 68-year-old.
“Many people have said it’s been negative because one team and one driver dominate. But I always recognize when there are performances like Red Bull and Max.
“When someone dominates like that, it’s the sum of the work that is necessary that you are seeing. And all you can say is congratulations,” the Frenchman added.
“If you want to get to that level, you have to work better. I understand if it is frustrating at times, but on a personal level, I thought it was great.”
As for new triple consecutive world champion Verstappen, Prost thinks the Dutchman’s racing rivals will be hard-pressed to catch up with him any time soon.
“As drivers, we all have our driving styles and approaches,” he said. “Max is still very young, but the focus he had on his career from the start and the passion for motorsport are very important.
“He always says what he wants and thinks. You don’t often see someone so dedicated to their sport. There’s something very special about him – he’s always getting faster and gaining more and more experience.”
“This is part of the sport — and, when there is a legend that is building up incredible momentum, you just need to congratulate them,” says F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“On the other hand, F1 is sold out everywhere we go. So interest is growing, despite the fact that Max Verstappen this year has won almost all the races. Cycles have been always part of F1. But what you can say is we never saw the gaps between the cars being so close.”
Still, Domenicali remains bullish on F1’s growth prospects. “I think that there is a lot more to come,” he says. “Particularly in the US, where the sport business is huge. Look at the values of the businesses in American sports [the Dallas Cowboys NFL franchise is valued at more than $9bn]. We are humbly entering that world, but now our position in the American market is much bigger. We are moving rapidly.
“We’re just at the beginning of a journey that I believe will take us in terms of growth, popularity and business, to another level.”