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Formula 1

Is Red Bull in real danger of an F1 2024 title defeat? Our verdict

5 min read

Max Verstappen's spirited defensive drive at Imola spared Red Bull the relative indignity of three successive Formula 1 defeats that would've otherwise been inflicted upon it in Monaco.

The ground effect era's clear best team is in trouble then... right? Or is a return to Red Bull-led normality just around the corner for F1?

Our writers give their takes:

A much harder task now

Gary Anderson

Sergio Perez's crashed Red Bull, F1

Sometimes you have to take as much from a bad weekend as is available and that is what Verstappen ended up doing with sixth place.

However, if you look at the last three race weekends - Miami, Imola and now Monaco - none of them have been plain sailing at any time.

One win from three races and, other than in Monaco, where Red Bull was truly on the back foot in qualifying, it has been nip and tuck.

Ferrari and McLaren, with their full line-ups, are now showing that their developments have taken them into the battle, which will change how Red Bull has to think and the decisions it will have to make.

When you have had the domination that Red Bull or, should I say, Verstappen has had over the last couple of seasons, the direction of development for the team has been much easier than it is going to be from now on. That bodes well for a fighting challenge from Ferrari and McLaren before the season ends.

Perhaps Jos Verstappen was correct and Red Bull is starting to implode.

A sustained challenge to Red Bull is coming

Scott Mitchell-Malm

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, and Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, F1

Remember in early 2022, the last time we all really thought there was a title fight on the cards? And remember when Charles Leclerc suffered that failure in Baku, which just felt like a dagger through the heart of that hope?

Leclerc was 34 points behind Verstappen after that. And their teams' respective trajectories were going in opposite directions.

Today he is 31 points back and Ferrari looks like a team in the ascendancy.

We are one-third of the way through the season and I can't help but think we might sneak a title fight. I do admit though that it's unlikely - Leclerc himself doubts it! - and my main feeling is that Ferrari and McLaren will cannibalise each other over the course of the season and let Verstappen (who will probably win more than he doesn't) become champion with relative ease.

Even if a 2024 drivers' title battle isn't on the cards, though, the constructors' championship does not look like a sure thing at all.

Rivals are closing in, Red Bull's car advantage isn't imperious across all circuits, and its second car is starting to go missing a bit more again. Ferrari or McLaren could yet mount a serious fight on the teams' side this year.

And longer-term, the route to Red Bull being toppled is increasingly clear.

A better showcase for Verstappen's brilliance

Edd Straw

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, F1

Monaco is an outlier, so don't expect this to be the new normal for Red Bull.

What this weekend has done is added further evidence to the argument that things are closing up and that while Verstappen and Red Bull will still do plenty of winning, there is an increased threat of others taking victories.

That's encouraging not only for what is to come for the rest of 2024, but also for next year given the fears that it had been a foregone conclusion that Verstappen and Red Bull will romp to the '25 championship too.

There won't be many more weekends like Monaco this year, but at favourable tracks we can now expect more competition at the front. That will make life more difficult for Verstappen, but it will also allow him to showcase his brilliance.

But for that, Imola might have been lost and Monaco could have been even worse - just look at how Sergio Perez's race played out.

The constructors' title race is real

Samarth Kanal

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, F1

It looks like we have a title fight after the Monaco Grand Prix. Red Bull’s issue in Monaco is likely to reappear at other circuits where the bumps are harsh – but even at tracks where drivers have to ride the kerbs hard, such as Montreal and Austin.

The problem seems to be inherent to Red Bull’s car and while it might not find itself struggling in qualifying to this level in the future (with Verstappen starting sixth and Perez 16th in Monaco), I expect to see McLaren and particularly Ferrari taking points off Red Bull and even outscoring the defending champion in upcoming races this season.

There are just 24 points between Ferrari and Red Bull heading to Canada. It’s undeniable that we at least have a constructors’ championship battle on our hands.

Don't get carried away

Glenn Freeman

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, F1

I can see why people might be getting excited about a close season based on the trend of Miami, Imola and Monaco.

But I'd still expect Red Bull to have a clear edge at more conventional tracks, so I don't see this as Verstappen and Red Bull suddenly being vulnerable in the championship.

But it at least looks like Ferrari and McLaren have got themselves within striking distance, so any margin Red Bull used to have in hand has been eroded. That's good news for neutrals who want to see close competition at the front.

Red Bull is going to have to work harder for its wins now, and it's finally going to be vulnerable to genuine attacks - and as we've seen in two of the last three races, genuine defeats - when it doesn't get everything together.

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