F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali: Red Bull dominance not deterring new fans of F1
With Red Bull Racing proving to be a dominant force for a second year on, FIA Formula 1 World Championship CEO Stefano Domenicali said that the commanding performance of one team is not causing newer fans to turn away from the series.
Rather, the lack of variety in which teams top the timesheets is more likely to be a criticism of devoted, long-time viewers, according to Domenicali’s statements in a recent meeting with investors.
Only three races into the 2023 season, Red Bull has secured a solid lead in the constructors’ championship, currently fifty-eight points ahead of their closest rivals at Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team. Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen heads the pack with two wins, and is the clear favorite to take a third straight title.
When it comes to how the remainder of this year’s championship will develop, Domenicali is confident that there is ample time for the team order to be shaken up and result in some more “surprises” by the end of the season.
“First of all, if a team is faster than the others, congratulations, they did a better job than the others. It’s the duty of FIA as the regulator to make sure that they check the compliance of the car with the regulations.
“If you look at the others, the other teams are very close, very, very close. I’m very confident that with the budget cap, the situation will evolve in the best way for the better competition.
“But on the other hand, there is one thing that is interesting to see, in the new markets, where the new audience is coming in, that is not a really important factor. It’s more let’s say for the avid fans that if you see a car that is dominant, that’s creating a level of less interest. For the new markets, for the new fans that are coming to the business, this is not really very important.”
While Domenicali prioritizes competition between teams, he said that this is actually not a significant factor in emerging markets for F1.
“And for us, it’s important because we want to make sure there is a great competition in the ecosystem. But I would say if I look today, in the markets where we are growing, this factor is not so relevant as you think. And this is, in a way, very interesting to share. But that’s the truth.”
Domenicali predicts that other podium-contending teams will be able to catch up to Red Bull, with their wind tunnel penalty for breaching the cost cap still expected to have a negative impact on their season.
“For sure we see in the first three races Red Bull was very, very competitive,” he said. “I’m expecting the others to catch up.
“We need to wait and see the effect of the penalty that they had last year with the wind tunnel reduction. The championship is very long. And I think we’re going to have good surprises before the end.”