- The Austrian team Red Bull largely dominates the start of the Formula 1 championship with five victories and four one-two finishes in five races.
- A total domination which could cause some boredom among the followers of Formula 1 and unspectacular Grand Prix like in Miami and Baku.
- But for Franck Montagny, consultant at Canal+, Red Bull’s competitors, starting with Ferrari and Mercedes, will come back sooner or later and the Barcelona Grand Prix should give good indications for the rest of the season.
Will the most legendary Grand Prix on the calendar turn into boredom again with a new demonstration from Red Bull? That’s what Formula 1 fans are dreading ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend. More renowned for its stars than for its overtaking, the race in the streets of the principality could lead to an unspectacular Grand Prix, still marked by the domination of Max Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez.
A bit like the last Miami Grand Prix, won by the defending champion, or that of Baku, during which Perez emerged victorious. Races considered boring by viewers of Canal+, the official broadcaster, as evidenced by the scores of 11.7 and 11.4 obtained by these last two meetings at the start of the Formula 1 season. It’s simple, Red Bull has won everything with already five victories, including four doubles in five races.
“A better job than the others”
A domination born of the very good work of the Austrian team as granted by the CEO of Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali in the Financial Times, “This year, we have to tell the truth: Red Bull did a better job than the others, that’s a fact”, and Günther Steiner, Hass’ team manager, “Red Bull did a fantastic job. They just did a better job than the others,” as he explained to Motorsport.com.
Franck Montagny, Canal+’s F1 consultant, agrees with them on this point: “It’s just that they worked better than everyone else. They had already won everything last year with reliability problems at the start of the season that they don’t have this year. It is therefore not surprising to see Red Bull doing one and two”.
“You force yourself to look at something else”
To the point of already getting tired of this ultra-dominance of Red Bull after only five races? “It’s not that I’m tired, but you force yourself to look at something else, the battle for places 1 and 2 is not interesting, the domination is too great”, advances Franck Montagny. To the point of estimating that “this is not the right year to start taking an interest in F1. If your first Grand Prix is Miami, there is indeed something to ask where is the interest”.
Difficult to prove him wrong when you see the race of Max Verstappen in Miami. Starting only 9th on the starting grid, it only took him 15 laps to overtake Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin, the first of the others, when the double world champion predicted before the race 25 laps to see his young rival in his mirrors. What to say to Romain Grosjean, the former Formula 1 driver and consultant for Canal + when he is not driving in IndyCar, that there was “a normal grand prix and a Red Bull grand prix in Miami”. Max Verstappen won with more than 5 seconds ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez, and 26 (!) over Fernando Alonso, 3rd.
Formula 1 lovers are therefore finally forced to look at second-zone issues, and fortunately there is spectacle. “A lot of things are still happening, for example no one would have bet a euro on Fernando Alonso’s 3rd place, and the good performances of Aston Martin. Alpine also encounters a lot of problems. If we didn’t have these two Red Bulls, there would be all the ingredients for a great championship, ”even believes Franck Montagny.
Barcelona, the revealer
Fortunately for Formula 1 fans, the gap should eventually narrow between Red Bull and the other teams, starting with Ferrari and Mercedes. It remains to be seen when. “We are going to see battles again, Monaco is not necessarily the Grand Prix where it doubles the most. But we can expect Barcelona [le week-end prochain] gives information on the evolutions of the cars. Red Bull should stay 1 and 2, but not with so much lead, the classification should be more compact”, predicts Franck Montagny.
Formula 1, which has always wanted to highlight the spectacular side of the discipline like the Netflix series, Pilots of their destinywould not let one team outrageously dominate for several seasons anyway and “technical changes could help the other teams”, believes the former driver. A bit like Moto GP, where the last in the standings have more test days the following season.
But for Günther Steiner, “it is normal for them to stay ahead without it being necessary to intervene on the regulatory level. It is not fair to intervene just because someone is faster”. Especially since the new aerodynamic regulations introduced last season aimed precisely to ensure that single-seaters can follow each other more, for more spectacle.
Could the tightening between the teams instead come from the introduction of the “budget cap”, getting out of financial fair play with car sauce? Franck Montagny is skeptical: “It’s only been introduced for two years and it’s too early for it to bear fruit. We have to wait another two or three years. Because the teams which had budgets of 500 million, against 140 million today, invested all this money before the budget cap, ”he says. Like Aston Martin and its brand new factory which is not yet fully operational. And yet we can already see the fruits on the track with their 2nd place in the constructors’ standings, they who finished 7th last season.
Canal+ celebrates 10 years of Formula 1 on its antennas
The official broadcaster of Formula 1 in France, Canal+, celebrates this weekend on the occasion of the Monaco Grand Prix, the 10 years of the discipline on its antennas. The queen discipline of motor sport landed in 2013 on the encrypted channel. “It went incredibly fast, I didn’t see the time pass. So I’ve had a blast in this new job as a consultant for 10 years now, it’s really cool. We have found our cruising speed and we all like each other as much, ”says Franck Montagny.
10 years during which Formula 1 fans were able to experience Mercedes domination, but also the victories of the French Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon or the coronation of Max Verstappen by the voice of Julien Fébreau, Jacques Villeneuve, Franck Montagny, Margot Laffite and Laurent Dupin, among others. “We receive a lot of thanks, people say thank you for my rants, my technical descriptions. The spectators also ask us to come to the pitlane on Thursday to exchange a few words with them. In any case, I am seriously hot to continue for another 10 years, ”warns the consultant.