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Red Bull Racing

Red Bull risks falling into 'mediocrity' - Schumacher

Ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has suggested Red Bull could become mired in mediocrity and that he does not believe the Max Verstappen to Mercedes speculation is over with.

Verstappen race Monaco
To news overview © XPBimages

Ralf Schumacher has said Red Bull is at risk of slipping into a period of mediocrity, with the constructors' champions under increasing pressure.

The former-F1 driver believes it is now just a matter of "what happens next" for the Milton Keynes outfit, which the German feels team principal Christian Horner must get "under control."

Adrian Newey will leave the team in early 2025 and Ferrari and McLaren have closed the gap considerably since the start of the current season. 

On top of the 65-year-old's departure, with Red Bull taking power unit production in-house for the 2026 rules change, there has been speculation over how well the team will adapt to that side of the new regulations.

Whether it can retain the level of performance it has enjoyed since the start of this era into the next generation of F1 remains to be seen. However, amid the recent steps forward by the champion's closest competitors, many are beginning to question whether the dominance will even last until then.

"[It's] all well and good when you win, Schumacher told Formel1.de's Youtube channel. "To be fair, most of the races have been won so far.

"It's just a question of what happens next. And he [Christian Horner] still has a lot of pressure on his shoulders, which he will have to get under control. That also goes for management personnel," he added, suggesting there are other key people who want to leave the team.

"And that's the dangerous thing about Formula 1... Red Bull is really at high risk of falling into mediocrity at the moment. I thought 2026 mediocre sounded hard, but it's already hard this year."

Verstappen to Mercedes rumours not over

As far are key departures go, Newey may not be the last big name to leave Red Bull. The uncertainty over how it will fare into the 2026 regulations cycle, and the reports of political instability within the team, has also led to speculation that Max Verstappen will seek pastures new - with Mercedes touted as the most likely destination.

In step with those rumours, Schumacher feels that unless Red Bull can deliver its three-time world champion the best car moving forward, he could pull the trigger on a move elsewhere.

"Absolutely not - I don't think so," the 48-year-old replied when asked if he felt the Verstappen to Mercedes rumours had been put to bed.

"Max Verstappen will be looking for the best car. And one thing is also clear: at the moment it's not the Red Bull. The McLaren is the most complete package. The Red Bull is simply difficult to drive. Without the Max factor, they wouldn't have won in Imola either. 

"I think that theoretically the car works great, but I think that the limits of the car, including the aerodynamic stability, the car has to be driven so hard that it no longer goes over the curbs, no longer goes over bumps. 

"And accordingly, I think that's a problem, a big problem. And if they don't get to grips with it, then Max will pull the ripcord at some point."

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