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Verstappen names surprise team as top 2024 rival

Verstappen names surprise team as top 2024 rival
© Reuters
Max Verstappen has named three rival teams that will threaten his dominance of Formula 1 in 2024.

Max Verstappen has named three rival teams that will threaten his dominance of Formula 1 in 2024.

At a sim racing event in Amsterdam this week, the Red Bull driver and triple consecutive drivers' world champion admitted it will be "almost impossible" for him to maintain his 2023 levels of superiority next year.

"Running the same season will be almost impossible," NOS, a Dutch broadcaster, quoted the 26-year-old as saying.

"We will of course try to develop our car further, but the other teams have learned a lot from us. I don't hope there will be more competition, but I expect there to be."

Red Bull scored more than double the points of second and third-placed teams Mercedes and Ferrari this year, but Verstappen admits he has an eye on another key rival for 2024.

When asked which team he fears most for 2024, the Dutchman answered: "That is very difficult to estimate. Every weekend it was a different team that was doing well.

"McLaren seemed to be right there for a while, but then they had a dip again. But they seem to know which way to go and have good people working there," he said.

"But at Mercedes they will also want to win again, and Ferrari also knows what they have to do."

Verstappen says the clearest sign that his rivals are catching up is that Red Bull actually didn't always dominate in the qualifying sessions in 2023.

"It will automatically be closer together next year," he said. "You also saw in qualifying already this season that it was not always easy for us."

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Gerhard Berger pictured in September 2019
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