McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown has warned that Red Bull's supposed lack of development in 2023 could lead to an 'unpleasant surprise' for the rest of the grid this season.
As Max Verstappen took the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi for the last time behind the wheel of his RB19, there may well have been a collective sigh of relief from nine other teams and 19 other drivers – including Sergio Perez.
That would be due to the fact they knew they would never have to see or race against the unbeatable combination of the Dutchman in the cockpit of that car.
The hope therefore would be that Red Bull surely could not get any better, as the winter break provides the opportunity for the rest of the grid to play catch up.
Brown: Beware 'unpleasant surprise' from Red Bull
Yet that might be far too simple, according to Brown, as the McLaren chief warned that Red Bull's apparent lack of progress towards the end of 2023 could see them come out with an equally monstrous car this season.
“Clearly we want to continue to close the gap,” he told the media. “We finished up last year as the second or third quickest team, depending on what circuit you were at.
“Car development has been strong, but Red Bull certainly seems like they didn’t develop last year to the level they could if they wanted to.
"So that could be an unpleasant surprise for all of us.”
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.