RACE DEBRIEF

    Former Haas team boss Guenther Steiner believes there will be other drivers and teams “coming up” to challenge for honours in 2024, following two successive title wins for Red Bull and three on the bounce for Max Verstappen.

    Red Bull’s success under F1’s latest ground effect ruleset reached another level last season as the Milton Keynes operation won 21 out of 22 races held, while Verstappen took 19 of those victories and led more than 75% of all racing laps.

    READ MORE: Newey admits to ‘complete surprise’ over recent Red Bull dominance

    However, Christian Horner has pointed to his team facing “diminishing returns” with their new package, while the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin and McLaren – the latter making huge strides with their 2023 developments – push to make up ground.

    Asked for his thoughts on Verstappen and Red Bull’s dominance at the recent Autosport International Show, Steiner said: “That will end. This is a period in my opinion… I think the teams next year, some of them will catch up. Look at what McLaren did last year, they caught up pretty quick.

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    Steiner served as Haas’s team boss from their debut F1 season in 2016

    “Any race it can come that somebody catches up because the regulations stayed stable, there is a limit [on] what you can develop and it’s just [that] everybody’s going to that point.

    “Then, for sure, in 2026 I think the cars are even newer, with the new regulations, engine regulations, [so] there will be a complete change in everything in 2026 in my opinion. I think the sport will stay interesting.

    READ MORE: ‘I’m fully expecting diminishing returns’ – Christian Horner on the 3 key challenges facing Red Bull in 2024

    “Obviously Max dominated a little bit [recently], just a touch! But I think he’s in the best car and I think he's the best driver in the moment. But there are other good drivers in other good cars out there that will be coming up this year.”

    Fresh from leaving his role at Haas, Steiner also offered his thoughts on the state of F1 as a whole and the “immense” growth that has taken place in recent years.

    Formula 1 2023 Season Montage

    “I think the sport is in a very good place,” said Steiner. “I’m not in it anymore, so I can say it now as an outsider, I think it’s a great sport. What [F1 parent company] Liberty Media brought into it was the entertainment factor.

    “People, motorsport fans, were worried that entertainment takes over the sport, but I think it’s managed very well that the sport is still the focus. The race is what we go there for, then you put a lot of stuff around it that people want these days – we want to be entertained all day long.

    READ MORE: ‘I’m ready to go against Max’ – Norris gives his verdict on when McLaren could fight for wins and titles

    “I think the sport will be growing, but even if it is just stabilising for a few years, its success, because the growth rate over the last years was so immense. I think it’s got a great future. There [are] strong teams out there, it is very solid, everything. It will be going strong.”

    Steiner has said he feels “very chilled out” about leaving Haas and is “not in a hurry” to settle his future plans, but that fans can expect him to be “around at some races” and they “may even see me on TV” in 2024.