Webber: It’s just ‘Formula 1 plus’ for Verstappen at times

Retired Formula 1 driver, Mark Webber, believes his former team, Red Bull, will still be the team to beat in 2023, especially with Max Verstappen’s driving being on another level.

The Australian driver drove for Red Bull from 2007 till 2013, taking 41 podiums with the team, nine of which were wins, while bagging 13 pole positions in the process.

Webber knows the inner workings of Red Bull quite well, and combining that with what everyone witnessed from the energy drinks outfit in 2022, he believes they will still be the team to look out for in 2023.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Webber said: “Red Bull are still the most dangerous team coming out of the blocks.

“Actually, everyone has to lift their games in all aspects. We saw that Mercedes had great reliability, Ferrari of course less so. But Red Bull had good reliability and were strong at all tracks,” he added.

Webber pointed out another lethal weapon in the Red Bull arsenal; double F1 Champion Max Verstappen of whom he said: “Max, it’s just ‘Formula 1 plus’ for him at times. I think the highlight for me was to see what he did through the field in Spa. That was just unbelievable.”

Red Bull can deal with their cost cap penalty

Red Bull have to deal with a 10% reduction in their aero development time, a penalty they incurred after being found to have breached the F1 cost cap back in 2021, and many feel or even hope that might slow them down in 2023, allowing other teams to catch up.

However, Webber is not sure Red Bull will be heavily impacted; he said: “I don’t think anyone knows really how much that’s going to impact them, but I’m sure they’ve got enough creative people there to keep it going.

“But I think we also don’t know how much Mercedes have given up on this year. In some ways, giving up is not the right word, because there’s always some learning for next year.

“But I mean how they allocated the time, the R&D and the money under the budget cap between last year and the 2023 car.

“Thanks to those elements, it’s going to be fascinating to see how the first quarter plays out next season,” the 46-year-old concluded.