Max Verstappen believes that Red Bull's penalty for breaching the cost cap will "hurt" them, but has backed the team to maintain their momentum. The 2022 F1 season proved to be a dominant one for Verstappen and the Milton Keynes-based squad; Verstappen claimed his second World Championship with four races to spare, while Red Bull clinched the Constructors' Championship for the first time since 2013. However, one potential dampener on the year was the confirmation in October that the outfit would be punished for breaching the 2021 budget cap. Red Bull were ordered to pay a $7 million fine, along with having to forfeit 10 per cent of their aerodynamic development allowance. Despite this, Verstappen feels that his team have the right factors in place to be able to cope with the impact, given their level of competitiveness in 2022.
Verstappen assesses impact of cost cap penalty
"It's going to hurt us," Verstappen told German publication Auto Motor und Sport . "But I am confident that my team will get it right and we will have a good start. We know where to start and what to work on. "If we were at a loss as to which direction to go in, it would be an even bigger problem. We will find out over the year how much we actually suffer. "Our car was competitive. If we keep the momentum going, it should be fine."
Will Red Bull face more competition in 2023?
In terms of the level of competition in the field for the season ahead, Verstappen believes it is difficult to assess. "That depends on many factors," he explained. "The cars are still new in a way. There's still a lot of development potential in them. With Ferrari, it's hard to say how much more they have developed this year. "The engines? What is still happening there? That's why it's hard for me to name the main rival." 2022 was a record-breaking year for Verstappen, with the Dutchman having claimed 15 victories, marking the highest number of wins for a driver in one season. When asked whether he would like to face more of a challenge from his rivals in 2023, Verstappen said: "Sometimes yes, sometimes no. "In certain situations I wish for it. But sometimes it's just nice to have a dominant car. In general, I hope that the field will get closer together."