Monday, June 26, 2023

F1: What makes Max Verstappen so Great?

As No Max! You’ll never be Better than Ayrton Senna! Regardless of your statistics…


Was Talkin’ Turkey, Err Formula 1 recently with one of the few people I get a chance to these days. As former Austin F1 sherpa Claudio’ was saying He guessed Red Bull has the Best engine on the Grid? Which makes Max Verstappen so unbeatable?


And if you’re a Diehard F1 Aficionado like Mwah, albeit Fading. Then Y’all know about the 1988 Formula 1 season when McLaren won 15 of that year’s 16 races! Since Red Bull’s being compared to this phenomenon, apparently with Max saying that Red Bull could very well win All 22 races this year, Youza!


Having “read” the very staggering statistics according to Reuters Alan Baldwin following the Spanish Grand Prix. Noting how Red bull had won the past 17 of 18 Grands Prix, from Round 12 at Le Castellet, France last year. Including seven in-a-row this year thru Barcelona!


For which Verstappen’s won a staggering 14 times! With His Wingman Sergio Checo’ Perez taking three. With the only single non Red Bull win during this period being George Russell’s maiden Grand Prix victory at last year’s Sao Paolo Grand Prix, Aye Karumba!


Since when I think about McLaren’s 1988 “Dream Team” of The Professor, aka Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. I’m struck by the fact that they were the two Best Formula 1 Drivers on the F1 grid at that point. And sorry Checko’, but you’ll Never be  in this Zip code…


As ironically, McLaren’s Honda 1.5-litre twin turbo V-6 lump’ was the best engine on the 1988 F1 grid, coInky-dense? Not to mention having a very good chassis…


Whilst we know that MaxiMillions’, nee Verstappen won a record 15 Grands Prix last year. With the rest of the grid picking up the table scraps! As Max’s Red Bull teammate Checo’ (Perez) knotted two W’s. While Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won three, along with Scuderia teammate Carlos Sainz, Jr. winning His maiden grands Prix at Bloody Silverstone. And Mercedes George Russell’s win at Sao Paolo.


As I told Claudio, and I’m probably stating the obvious here. But I feel certain that it’s the entire package, i.e.; Driver, Chassis  and Engine that makes Red Bull currently unbeatable!


Since I’ll begrudgingly concede that Verstappen’s currently the best F1 driver. But how would Charles Leclerc do if He and Verstappen swapped rides? Ditto Sainz or Russell. Not to mention that Sir Lewis, or to that point. That Smarmy Spaniard Frederico Suave’, aka Fernando Alonso would certainly be collecting more Silverware, nee Grands Prix trophies, and Gasp, Championships!


Whilst if I recall correctly? Red Bull was threatening to Quit F1 awhile ago unless the FIA Froze the current engine regulations when Honda announced it was Quitting Formula 1 again. Which after agreen to this demand, Red Bull and Honda saw Verstappen controversially win the 2021 Drivers Championship at Yas Isle,. Where I believe that Max and Lewis Hamilton had been tied on nine wins apiece, before Verstappen won the “tie-breaker”.


Thus with the engine regulations frozen until 2025, I suspect we’re in for a further few dull years of Verstappen and Red Bull’s dominance! A la Mercedes from 2014-2021…


Yet I tend to overlook the fact that Adrian Newey, arguably the greatest ever Formula 1 Designer, whose racecar have reportedly won a staggering 200 Grands Prix! Worked for March Engineering in His formative years.


As Newey is the only Formula 1 Designer to have won Constructors Championships for three F1 Teams, ergo Williams, McLaren and Red Bull. With His racecars having won  eleven Constructors and twelve  Drivers titles to date! Since obviously Verstappen and Red Bull are well on their way to clinching this year’s “double”.


Team Willy’ won the 1992-94 and 1996-97 Constructors titles. Followed by the Ronsters’, nee Ron Dennis’s McLaren in 1998 and then Red Bull from 2010-13 and 2022 and counting…


While Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve won their F1 Drivers titles at Team Willy’. Followed by Mika Hakkinen’s Double World Championship at McLaren. And then Sebastian Vettel’s four consecutive Championships at Red Bull before the current Verstappen reign began! Making me wonder if it’s the driver or the chassis? Or what comes first, the Chicken or the Egg, Wee-wee?


Much noise has been made lately over the Red Bull RB19’s “Underbody” floor’s secret’s finally being divulged when Perez’s stricken RB19 was lifted skywards by a crane at Monaco. Although McLaren’s Andrea Stella admitted it was one complex looking “Piece of Kit!”


As I’d totally forgotten that Newey’s first racecar design was the March GTP car of 1982, specifically the 82G. Which if I’m reading the record books correctly, it’s successor, the March 83G won the IMSA GTP Championship in 1983-84.


Then Newey moved to engineer Bobby Rahal at Truesports in 1984, before His March 85-86C designed Indy Cars won both the series Championship and Indianapolis 500. Arse-sumedly with all three racecars being Ground Effects chassis.


Making me tell Claudio that I suspect that Newey simply has a better understanding of Ground Effects vs. the rest of the Formula 1 field and Hence, why the Red Bull RB18 and RB19 are leaps ahead of everybody. Not to mention suffering the least from Porpoising!


As I’ve read many times how it’s the total package, i.e.; the front wing working with the sidepods and floor. Channeling the “invisible” Air to the diffuser and rear wing. Along with working in harmony with the Drag Reduction system. (DRS) Along with needing a powerful engine, Err Power Unit and gasp, somebody to steer the Bloody contraption!


So even though Max is set to eclipse the late, great Ayrton Senna’s F1 career wins tally shortly, with Prost and Vettel’s surely in sight. Does this make Verstappen as great or greater than these Formula 1 icons? Especially Senna and Prost, who accomplished their records during the era of fewer Grands Prix per season…