Former F1 race winner Felipe Massa has delivered an ominous warning to anyone hoping to topple Max Verstappen and Red Bull from atop the sport’s pecking order.
Since the introduction of the latest ground effect rule set last season Verstappen and the Milton-Keynes-based squad have dominated proceedings.
Following a comfortable championship double in 2022, Red Bull has progressed to win every grand prix so far this year, with the last eight victories going to Verstappen.
Subsequently, Verstappen leads the Drivers’ standings by a substantial 125 points over team-mate Sergio Perez, and his efforts alone would be enough to maintain Red Bull’s position at the top of the Constructors’ Championship.
Therefore, Massa believes that the combination of Verstappen and Red Bull is one that will remain undefeated until the regulations are next overhauled.
“I think until 2026, when we will have the regulation change, Verstappen wins everything,” the 2008 F1 championship runner-up told Spanish newspaper Marca.
“We will have equal regulations and Verstappen is superior, Red Bull is superior. So until 2026, we can expect Verstappen to win all the titles.”
F1 is no stranger to encountering a prolonged period of dominance across an individual rules cycle.
Previously, Red Bull and Vettel enjoyed a run of four consecutive championship doubles between 2010 to 2013, while Mercedes ushered in the turbo-hybrid engine era with seven consecutive Drivers’ titles to go with its eight Constructors’ successes from 2014.
Now, Red Bull has become the dominant force in F1 again and the Austrian camp’s current momentum will not be destabilised by a regulation change until 2026 at the earliest.
The impending changes to the engine formula have enticed the likes of Audi and Honda, who will partner up with Sauber and Aston Martin respectively.
Whether Red Bull will be able to continue their dominance into the next rules set and beyond remains to be seen, as Massa points out.
“Logically, we have a big change, with everything new and then we have to understand if Red Bull will be the same as today,” he added.
“But right now I don’t see anyone at the same level as Verstappen.”