As Max Verstappen gears up for his Formula 1 title defense in 2024, he acknowledges that McLaren might pose a significant threat in the upcoming season. Reflecting on the dominant performance of himself and the Red Bull team in the 2023 F1 season, where he secured a third World Championship by winning 19 out of 22 grands prix, Verstappen recognizes McLaren’s impressive progress.
Verstappen expresses his observations on McLaren’s performance, stating, “We were the only team that was really consistent. That’s the thing that behind us, it was really up and down and it was one team second and another team, so that’s why the battle was quite close behind us. So it will all depend on how much they will improve in the wintertime. Which one I think was the most impressive behind us from where they started to where they ended, was definitely McLaren. So it looks like they might be very strong next year.”
The 2023 season saw Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin initially vying for the ‘best of the rest’ status behind Red Bull. However, McLaren’s surge with their MCL60 made them a formidable contender, ending the season with nine podiums, including a sprint race victory by Oscar Piastri in Qatar.
Looking ahead to the 2024 season, Verstappen and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner expect a more competitive grid. Verstappen emphasizes the importance of consistency and experience in pursuing a championship, stating, “Every year is a little bit different. That also depends, of course, on how good the car is going to be. But I think you also just rely a lot on your experience.”
As the F1 drivers enjoy a brief off-season, Verstappen reveals his winter schedule, which includes a trip to Brazil for his brother-in-law’s wedding and a Christmas celebration there. Despite his busy schedule, Verstappen plans to escape the cold by heading to the snow for some skiing, a sport he hasn’t engaged in for at least five years.
Should Verstappen secure a fourth World Championship in F1 2024, it would match Sebastian Vettel’s impressive streak with Red Bull between 2010-2013. The anticipation is high as the F1 community awaits the unfolding drama of the upcoming season.