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De la Rosa Too Early to Crown Verstappen in F1

De la Rosa: Too Early to Crown Verstappen in F1

29/02/2024

Pedro de la Rosa challenges the early consensus, arguing the F1 season’s unpredictability makes Verstappen’s victory far from certain.

The 2024 season hasn’t begun yet, and yet one of the biggest talking points in F1 right now is the 2025 season. The potential dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen is the reason, as the 2024 season suggests a possible lack of suspense.

“Red Bull has built a plane for this year,” joked Jaime Alguersuari, a former driver from the Red Bull family, to La Sexta. “Max never makes mistakes, and that’s why Red Bull will be unbeatable again.”

However, another former F1 driver, Pedro de la Rosa, insists it’s far too early to dismiss the chances of all the other drivers to beat Verstappen.

“You can’t start a season thinking there’s already a winner,” he told AS newspaper. “So much can happen in a season. But Verstappen is really in spectacular form – you can see it from the onboard camera. He and the car seem to be one.”

Is it possible to win the championship at 40?

Nonetheless, it’s perhaps more fascinating to view 2024 through a lens that is already projecting into 2025, when Lewis Hamilton will wear Ferrari’s red and face Charles Leclerc.

“The problem is he’ll be 40,” said René Arnoux, a former Ferrari driver to Gazzetta dello Sport. “And in sports, age affects results. Youngsters are physically stronger. I don’t think it’s possible to win the world championship at 40.”

Another viewpoint is that Hamilton will have a tough final season at Mercedes, just like Carlos Sainz at Ferrari: “We have a very interesting season ahead of us,” adds de la Rosa. “It hasn’t even started, and we’re already talking about 2025.”

“I haven’t paid much attention to the Hamilton issue because he’s not on my team, and because I respect what drivers do. If he wants to change or thinks he should, he has all the information. We know nothing.”

Will Alonso join Mercedes F1?

Günther Steiner, the former Haas team boss who has turned into an F1 commentator, thinks Hamilton “is a professional” who will adapt well to his transition from Mercedes to Ferrari.

“Mercedes is also a very professional team,” he told Speed Week. “There won’t be any problems on the outside. But it could get a bit heated if George Russell is more performant right from the start.”

“Lewis will want to leave Mercedes on a high note before going to Ferrari, so if George performs in a way we don’t expect, things could get a bit hotter.”

As for the next step for Mercedes, it will also be a hot topic in 2024, since Fernando Alonso, who is out of contract, has already delayed negotiations with Aston Martin, making him a free agent at the beginning of the year.

“I think the question is not whether Fernando will go to another team,” insists de la Rosa. “I think the question is whether Fernando will continue in F1.”

“I really like what he has already said, that when he makes his decision, the first team he will consider out of loyalty will be Aston Martin. These statements make him even greater in my eyes.”

De la Rosa: Too Early to Crown Verstappen in F1. De la Rosa: Too Early to Crown Verstappen in F1

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