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Japanese Grand Prix 2023

Stoddie Straight: Could 'unstoppable' Red Bull throw Lawson in alongside Verstappen in 2025?

RacingNews365's expert columnist, former Formula 1 team principal Paul Stoddart reflects on the Japanese Grand Prix.

Verstappen Norris Piastri Japan
Column
To news overview © XPBimages

It's pretty clear that there were there two winners in Japan, as Red Bull and Max Verstappen won the Constructors' Championship with Max proving that what happened in Singapore was just a one-off.

For the remaining six races, we're going to see Red Bull out in front no doubt. It's pretty clear that Max will secure the Drivers' Championship in Qatar, which would be an anti-climax if he wins it in the Sprint race, which leaves a lot to be desired as far as I am concerned.

No-one is going to overtake Red Bull, and I can see them ending this current era with a string of Drivers' and Constructors' Championships, like what we saw with Mercedes, what we saw with Red Bull between 2010-13 and what we saw with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s.

Once a team is in a dominant position, there's nothing that is going to break it. When the regulations don't change - you've got to wait until 2026 to see who is going to emerge as the top teams - but until we get there, teams are going to be figuring how to chase Red Bull and maintain that challenge.

Here come McLaren

The other winner in Japan was McLaren who has demonstrated over the past several races that they are there or thereabouts.

Perhaps they've got the best car going forward in terms of being able to raise any kind of challenge to Red Bull.

The fact it did so well in in Singapore, a tight twisty, high downforce circuit, but then equally well in Suzuka which is anything but high-downforce shows the upgrades are really working and those drivers are delivering very commendable performances.

It is in a very strong position for 2024, because you've got to consider the fact that it was no-where at the start of this year.

It was sensible enough to realise that it needed to make a radical change, it made it but followed up with good upgrades.

Don't forget that there are no regulation changes next year, so the teams that finish strong at the end of this year, are going to start strong next year.

Things are looking up and also with the fact that both drivers now have multi-year contracts. There is a lot of stability and it just needs to continue what it is doing and it will be the best of the rest.

Oscar Piastri has been received brilliantly in Australia and deserves to be because it is no mean feat to get on the podium at a track you've never raced or even literally driven around before the weekend.

He did a great job not just in the race, but all weekend and he is really showing his maturity, and that he's just signed a multi-year contract tells you how highly acclaimed he is.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Lawson to Red Bull?

We really need to look at how Daniel Ricciardo performs in 2024 at AlphaTauri next year with Yuki Tsunoda as a team-mate.

It's not going to be hard to say that he will expect to be well ahead, but he's got to make this claim of being back on top of his game in order to earn that Red Bull seat for 2025 - or even late 2024 depending on how Sergio Perez performs.

I think it is possible they could take a chance on Liam Lawson alongside Max at Red Bull, possibly because he's proved he can handle himself under pressure, he's proved that he absolutely deserves a seat.

Red Bull brought Max in at a very young age, so perhaps it would put a talented driver with not so much experience in. If the talent is that good, he'll get the experience in a Red Bull.

But I think it is more likely it will be Daniel and Max in 2025, and Lawson and Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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