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Formula 1 Canadian GP

F1 will not manipulate championship to slow down Red Bull

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says it would be an unfair “manipulation” to change rules mid-season to stop Red Bull running away with the championship.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, passes Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, for the lead

Red Bull has been in a class of its own so far in 2023, with drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez winning all the races and already looking out of reach in the championship standings.

The scale of its advantage has left many anticipating that Red Bull could be set for a historic run of winning every race. The lack of a fight at the front has, however, triggered concerns about F1 being a turn off for fans that could result in a downturn in television and fan interest.

Domenicali accepts from an excitement perspective it would be better for there to be a much closer fight for victory. However, he is clear that it would be wrong for F1 or governing body the FIA to get involved in matters and impose any mid-season rule changes to help hold back Red Bull.

Speaking to the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast, and asked if he had considered stepping in, Domenicali said: “I think it is not fair to say that.

“It's not correct because we cannot be seen as part of manipulation. This is not correct, and this is not fair. I am not [imagining] at all this kind of approach.”

Rather than trying to engineer rule changes to make things more exciting, Domenicali thinks F1 is actually better off keeping things exactly as they are because that will better help Red Bull’s rivals close the gap.

“I think that's the right approach now, also because the rules have been changed not many years ago,” he said. “Therefore, this will happen for sure.”

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula 1, on the grid

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula 1, on the grid

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

He added: “F1 has been always a sport where there has been cycles, where teams were very dominant and then some others came into the equation.

“So, I would say our objectives should be - if you take this strategic approach - to make sure that these cycles in the future will be shorter.”

Domenicali has also emphasised that it is not a case of there being no competition among the F1 grid this year, because behind Red Bull things are incredibly close.

“I think that the gap is between one team and the others,” he said. “We need to consider that they [Red Bull] did an incredible job. It is true that the gap seems to be big, but we need to be prudent, because we know in life things can change very quickly.

“The others are very, very close. If you look at the gaps to the other teams, I think that they did an incredible job, [and it] needs to be rewarded. So, as I said, it's clear that the aim of what we want to do is to make sure that these gaps will stay as small as possible.

“I'm sure that the other teams are watching how they can catch up with their development in the context of the budget cap.

"It will be interesting to see if the development curve of the team that today is leading will slow down because, at the end of the day, they did a better job in the shorter term. So that will be very interesting to see in the next couple of months.”

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