Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix late last year, F1 seemed to be losing some of its entertainment value.
Max Verstappen won 19 of 22 races last term, giving Red Bull hope for greater dominance in 2024. Given what they had achieved over the past two seasons, it was a natural path of thought.
However, a few weeks before the start of the new F1 season and the sport has suddenly become interesting again. This is perhaps the first time since Verstappen took out Lewis Hamilton in controversial circumstances in 2021.
The cars haven’t even been revealed to the world yet, but there’s already a lot of talk – and plenty to keep fans interested.
F1 could be set for a turning point amid intrigue over Christian Horner and Lewis Hamilton
First, there was the bombshell news regarding Hamilton’s move to Ferrari.
Britton himself thought the ship was gone some years earlier, especially due to her reduced size on the grid.
After all, Hamilton has failed to win a race for the past two years. Something that certainly seemed impossible when he was dominating the game and leaving his rivals behind.
While his struggles can be attributed to Mercedes perhaps letting him down, some have written off the Stevenage-born racer as a fading force.
However, Ferrari doesn’t seem to agree.
Hamilton insists he is committed to Mercedes as he approaches his final year with the team and his career so far suggests he will be on course to win a record eighth F1 title with the Silver Arrows this year. He will do everything he can.
But given the way Mercedes have struggled in recent years, it is difficult to see them closing the gap on Red Bull any time soon.
Hamilton clearly feels that the move to Ferrari has increased his chances of greater success.
Otherwise, he would have remained with Mercedes, a team he has been with since racing as a junior.
It will be interesting to see where Mercedes goes from here. Of course, they have George Russell ready to be promoted to become the team’s No. 1 driver.
But Hamilton will leave behind a huge void.
And if Mercedes are pushing hard with the 39-year-old, it’s not impossible to think that the team will go further behind without one of the sport’s best drivers.
Then there’s the Horner situation, which has rocked the world of F1 as it prepares to return to prominence.
Earlier in the week, it emerged that Red Bull were investigating the 50-year-old amid complaints of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
The complaints came from a female member of staff and relate to Horner’s work.
Latest sports news:
He strongly denies the allegations and is fighting to clear his name.
Those close to Horner believe he is a pawn in a power struggle behind the scenes at Red Bull, despite its dominance of Formula One in recent years.
But with Verstappen looking to add another title to his collection, the uncertainty over Red Bull’s leadership is another fascinating sub-plot.
Reports have revealed that the 26-year-old’s father Jos Verstappen has a ‘badly damaged’ relationship with Horner.
Yet there’s no escaping the fact that, no matter what Horner did or didn’t do, he remains one of the best team principals in F1 history.
Christian Horner is under investigation by Red Bull but he denies the allegations against him
If Horner leaves amid Red Bull’s ongoing investigation, Verstappen could face the consequences of any exit.
Red Bull will reveal its new RB20 this weekend, with the team still intending to move forward with those plans.
But F1 could be ready for a big turn this year – and it will be interesting to see if that happens.