Stefano Domenicali is certain that Red Bull will face a tougher fight from their Formula 1 rivals in 2024.

Single-season records tumbled this year as Max Verstappen and his team were almost entirely dominant. Only a rare off-weekend in Singapore denied Red Bull a clean sweep of victories across the 22-race campaign.

And the fact the Milton Keynes-based squad has a head start on its rivals in terms of car development has sparked concerns that there will be a dearth of title race intrigue again next term. But F1 chief executive Domenicali is adamant that won't be the case.

The balance of power behind Red Bull was extremely changeable throughout the season with so little to separate many of the teams. That, and the dramatic improvement made by McLaren as the year progressed, gives Domenicali confidence that it won't be so easy for the defending champions in 2024.

Asked by Sky Sports if he believes the field will be tighter, the former Ferrari chief replied: "I think so. Even if, as always, I'm a guy that doesn't like to speak because there's always a lot of people who are speaking and then have been contradicted.

"But I'm sure that that's the aim of all the teams to try to show the level of their engineering, the level of their capacity and capability to improve. There are two years that are really crucial because then we're going to have a change, maybe related to the new balance of the power unit and so on."

The change the Italian referred to is the 2026 rules update which many see as the next chance teams will have to wrestle control of the championship away from Red Bull, just as they did to Mercedes when new regulations introduced for the 2022 upset the balance of power on the grid.

Specifically naming McLaren as a shining example of the progress that can be made in a short space of time, Domenicali added: "With regard to the sporting side of it, I would say congratulations to Max.

"It was something impressive in terms of maturity in terms of standards, to Red Bull, but also what I would bring home for that is on the sporting side once again, [there are] two elements. One - to the ones that will say with a budget cap you cannot develop the car, I would say McLaren proves that is not right.

"You saw qualifying [in Abu Dhabi], 20 cars less than one second [apart]. So qualifying, we are very, very close. Of course, race pace is different. And I think that these will be the major things that we're going to see different next year."

2023-11-28T21:03:14Z dg43tfdfdgfd