Hill predicts trouble for F1 teams chasing “frightening” Verstappen

The Milton Keynes team has won all eight grands prix so far, with Verstappen claiming six of the victories, and although Hill thinks Mercedes has made a step forward in recent races, he believes the performance gap is still so big that all of Red Bull’s rivals will struggle to catch up without hitting the cost cap limit this year.

“I think Mercedes have turned a corner, but the question is where the end of that development curve is going to peak,” said Hill, speaking during his Halow Project charity event at Daytona’s Sandown Raceway, following a world-first kart run on Zero synthetic fuel.

“In F1 this year, the excitement factor is actually whether or not we are going to see for the first time a team win every single race. To close the gap significantly enough to put pressure on Red Bull, teams will have to devote resources away from the following year.

“We are already hearing some teams talking about next year and saying they are going to continue to upgrade, but they are better off putting their resources into next year’s car – so I don’t know [whether Red Bull will be caught] between now and the end of the year.

“You would hope they would be fizzling out a bit and the others would be pressing ahead and we would get some racing, but that is no good if it is at the expense of them not being competitive in 2024.”

Damon Hill, Sky TV, Naomi Schiff, Sky TV, interview Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Damon Hill, Sky TV, Naomi Schiff, Sky TV, interview Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

But for F1’s immediate future and the next race in Austria, where Verstappen has won three of the last five races, Hill believes the Dutchman is driving at another level right now.

Victory in Austria would see the reigning F1 world champion surpass Ayrton Senna’s 41-race win record, and asked about that landmark, Hill added: “It is incredible. He is astonishing. He is incredibly talented and he is so capable it’s frightening.”

Hill was at Sandown for a record-breaking test in which he became the first person to drive a kart powered by fully synthetic fuel, made using just air, water and renewable energy.

The fuel, which can be dropped straight into any petrol engine, is produced by Zero, a fuel company set up by former F1 team technical chief Paddy Lowe.

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