Formula 1 Has Become Too Predictable? You Haven’t Been Paying Attention

What a season we're having.

Formula 1 Has Become Too Predictable? You Haven’t Been Paying Attention

Lando Norris’ first win? Carlos Sainz outperforming Charles Leclerc? Max Verstappen isn’t invincible? I thought Formula 1 was supposed to be predictable...

For all its incredible speed and unpredictable spectacle, Formula 1 often finds itself under intense scrutiny from a selection of fans who may have become slightly disinterested after hearing the Dutch national anthem week in, week out.

Since Max Verstappen claimed his first World Drivers’ Championship title three years ago, Red Bull’s continued dominance in the sport has prompted many people to suggest that F1 is a predictable performance from one of the best to ever do it, with the Dutch driver’s supremacy seemly unassailable heading into the new season.

RELATED: How The Miami Grand Prix Became A Billionaire’s Playground And The Biggest F1 Event In U.S. History

Image: McLaren Content Pool

But for all the criticism, this season has been unlike any other in recent memory; Red Bull’s civil war threatens to spiral onto the track, with high-profile members in the garage such as Adrian Newey becoming as sought-after as the drivers; Lando Norris taking victory from Max Verstappen in Miami; VCARB punching above their weight in the middle of the pack; and with three different teams claiming victory in the first six races of 2024, it feels like anything can happen heading into Emilia-Romagna.

Lando Norris’ maiden win in Miami

After 110 entries in Formula 1, McLaren’s rising star Lando Norris finally secured the first win of his career, ending an unwanted record of the most podium finishes without a win to take P1 in Miami.

It was a huge moment, not only for the young British driver, but for a racing team that hasn’t enjoyed much success on the track in recent years; the win in Miami is a poignant moment for a team on the up, and could set McLaren on a continued upward trajectory towards the top of the Constructors’.

Image: McLaren Content Pool

In all honesty, few drivers on the grid deserved their first win more than Lando Norris. The McLaren driver had made the podium 14 times in his career without tasting the sweet champagne of victory and consistently found himself finishing behind on-track rival (off-track friend) Max Verstappen and the all-conquering Red Bull.

For all the improvements made to McLaren’s machine in the last two seasons, it was never enough to knock the three-time World Champion off his P1 perch. Other drivers, such as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have been able to take sporadic wins – so too has Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez last season. But Verstappen’s strength is in his consistency; an unwavering focus on the job at hand.

For a long time, it looked like no one would be able to catch the high-flying Red Bulls, with many Formula 1 fans throwing the tired old narrative that the sport had become predictable amid the barrage of Red Bull wins since Max Verstappen’s first WDC now three years ago.

And to be fair, it has been one-way traffic for the better part of three years. But Lando Norris’ maiden win in Miami signalled the first time three different teams – Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren – had won in the first six races of a Formula 1 season since 2018. For all the talk of F1 becoming too predictable, it appears anyone could take a win in the new campaign.

Carlos Sainz Jr. continues to deliver for Ferrari; why are they getting rid of him?

Image: Getty

When the news broke that seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton would be donning the iconic red race suit of the Scuderia Ferrari next season, Formula 1 fans were rightly dreaming about what a Hamilton X Leclerc partnership could mean for one of the strongest teams in the sport.

It’s no secret that Hamilton is in search of his record-breaking eighth WDC title and will have been convinced by Ferrari’s proposal before the start of this season. But spare a thought for Carlos Sainz, Ferrari’s last race winner, who, arguably, couldn’t have done more to keep his place next season.

It can’t have been an easy decision for Ferrari Team Principal Fred Vasseur, but when the opportunity to sign the sport’s most decorated driver from your direct competition presents itself, you don’t necessarily need to think too hard about making the change.

But since the announcement, Carlos Sainz has been consistently turning up for his team, securing victory in Melbourne for Ferrari’s only race win of 2024 and won’t be short of offers to line up on the grid next season. It’s hard to imagine that he’s been ousted given his form, and certainly, not what everyone predicted at the start of the season with many suggesting that Charles Leclerc would be the one to challenge the Red Bull dominance heading into 2024.

Daniel Ricciardo vs. Yuki Tsunoda; A VCARB renaissance

Image: Red Bull Content Pool / Getty

Formula 1 is a funny old sport – it’s probably the only one in the world that sees teammates in direct competition with each other, competing for resources within the team and ultimately, places on the track.

That’s no truer than at Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo’s new/old racing team, VISA Cash App Red Bull, who started this season with a renewed vigour and determination to perform in Formula 1.

The Aussie star returned to the track for his first full season since 2022 with the old team that he made his name all those years ago and will have viewed this season as the perfect springboard to achieve his lofty ambitions within the sport. Of course, he wants Sergio Pérez’s seat… and has made no apologies for it.

It’s surprising then to see VCARB’s less experienced driver Yuki Tsunoda maintaining the strong race pace for the team, consistently finishing in the points to put Red Bull’s sister team comfortably in the middle of the pursuing pack – a far cry from last year’s season that saw the team struggling to get off the bottom.

To his credit, Daniel Ricciardo has also delivered – albeit not to his own high standards. The Miami Grand Prix saw the 8-time race winner take P4 in the Sprint, supported by his VCARB teammate Yuki Tsunoda who also finished in the points. If it weren’t for a rogue Lance Stroll move in Shanghai, we’d be talking about Ricciardo’s renewed form with the Aussie star sitting in the top half of the Constructors’, heading into Emilia-Romagna.

Each race presents new challenges and opportunities for those vying for position on the grid. As the season unfolds, the stage is set for a compelling season of Formula 1’s ever-changing landscape, where Max Verstappen’s supposed reign is no longer absolute and Red Bull dominance faces formidable challenges from unexpected quarters, signalling a new era of competitiveness in the sport.