Formula One: Can anyone end Max Verstappen’s reign?

It’s almost time for the green flag to wave to signal the start of the 2024 Formula One season and Max Verstappen will have a fourth consecutive title firmly in his sights.

The Red Bull maestro raced to glory last year, winning all but three races in a dominating season. However, he’ll face stiff competition in the form of Lewis Hamilton, who is looking to edge ahead of Michael Schumacher in the all-time rankings.

When does the Formula One season start?

It feels like just yesterday that the curtain closed on last season but the new campaign is just over a month away. The Bahrain Grand Prix will get proceedings underway on 2nd March and it’s a course that Hamilton knows well having won there a record five times.

Verstappen claimed his maiden win there a year ago and he’ll be targeting another fast start this time around. The 2024 season marks the 75th edition of the F1 Drivers’ Championship and it will host a record-high 24 races.

All of the 22 Grands Prix from last year are included, while the Chinese Grand Prix returns for the first time since 2019 following complications related to the pandemic. Elsewhere, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is also back on the schedule after being called off last time out due to flooding.

The British Grand Prix marks the midway point of the season. The iconic race takes place on 7th July and is another course where Hamilton holds the record with eight wins. Much like in Bahrain, Verstappen won at Silverstone for the first time in 2023.

Once again, the season will finish with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which takes place on 8th December.

Formula 1 racing at the 2023 British Grand Prix in Silverstone

2024 British Grand Prix Hospitality

Verstappen looks to make it four in a row

It’s fair to say that Verstappen has dominated the sport in recent years and he stepped things up in 2023 as he finished almost 300 points clear at the top of the standings. He was unstoppable as he won all but three races, as well as twice finishing as runner-up.

The 26-year-old is looking to become just the fifth driver in history to win four titles in a row and it’s a feat that would put him in esteemed company alongside Hamilton, Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Juan Manuel Fangio.

It could be argued that Verstappen is yet to reach his peak and the only way is up. If he can carry on driving for as long as Hamilton, there’s no knowing how many titles he could finish his career with.

However, this season is inevitably going to be more difficult. Verstappen is unlikely to win 19 races again so he’ll need to find a different gear in order to see off the challenges of his rivals.

Can McLaren and Ferrari spoil the party?

The F1 championship has been won by a driver from Red Bull or Mercedes every single year since 2009, when Jenson Button claimed it for Brawn. McLaren last won it in 2008 thanks to Hamilton while Ferrari, despite their early noughties dominance with Schumacher, haven’t won it since Kimi Raikkonen’s success the year before.

While Red Bull will be banking on another title this season, McLaren and Ferrari both have contenders in their ranks. The main man for McLaren is Lando Norris, who managed to finish sixth in 2023 despite a disappointing start to the season.

The Brit bounced back strongly and finished on the podium in six of the final nine races, including on home soil at Silverstone. He’ll be confident of taking his end of season form into the campaign and challenge Verstappen for the title.

Meanchile, Ferrari star Charles Leclerc finished fifth last year, finishing in the top five on eight occasions, including three podiums. The 26-year-old finished second overall in 2022, winning three races, and he’s shown he’s capable of getting the better of Verstappen in the past.

Both Norris and Leclerc have recently signed new deals with their respective teams, ending speculation that they could be tempted to jump ship and join Verstappen at Red Bull with Serio Perez’s contract set to expire at the end of the year.

Hamilton looks to become GOAT

While Verstappen’s dominance in recent years has shown he’s clearly the best at the moment, he’s got a long way to go to match the legacy of Hamilton.

The Mercedes star has won seven titles in his glittering career, although he’s on a drought by his high standards having not finished on top since 2020. Hamilton is level with Schumacher in the all-time rankings and he’s determined to clinch a record-breaking eighth before calling it a day.

The 39-year-old came third last year and despite finishing almost 350 points behind Verstappen and failing to win a race, he still performed admirably, finishing on the podium on five occasions.

ICON Legends – Michael Schumacher – Formula One superstar

Formula One is currently enjoying one of it’s greatest eras ever, with Max Verstappen literally racing away with his third consecutive title last year. But despite his dominance, Verstappen still has a long way to go before he can be compared to Michael Schumacher.

The German was simply unstoppable at his peak and he paved the way for the drivers of the modern era, so it’s only right that he takes his place among our line-up of ICON Legends.

The greatest of all time?

Lewis Hamilton may have something to say about that but the Brit undoubtedly grew up dreaming of one day emulating the great Schumacher. The pair are currently tied at the top of the all-time Drivers’ Championship standings, with seven titles each.

Five of Schumacher’s championships came in consecutive years at the turn of the century, with few able to offer adequate competition. Racing was in the blood as his father ran a local karting track in Cologne back in Germany, while his son Mick Schumacher has also raced in F1.

Schumacher and his brother, Ralf, first started racing there and never looked back as they both became professional drivers. In fact, they remain the only siblings to have both won Formula One races and they have finished in first and second place on five different occasions.

New kid on the block

Having started out in karting, Schumacher made his F1 debut with Jordan in 1991 before quickly signing with Benetton. He didn’t take long to get to grips with the circuit and he won his first race the following year at Spa.

After a steady few seasons, Schumacher showed he meant business as he claimed his first title in 1994, although in controversial circumstances as he collided with rival Damon Hill in the final race, which retired them both.

However, there were no complaints a year later as Schumacher dominated the track, winning the championship by a landslide. His success earned him a move to Ferrari and although he struggled initially, going four years without a title, he managed to take it to the final race twice.

Early noughties dominance

If Ferrari were beginning to have doubts about their decision to snap up Schumacher, they needn’t have worried. The new millennium sparked a new era for Formula One as he dominated the sport, winning five consecutive championships between 2000 and 2004.

Schumacher still holds the record for the most titles in a row and he was the driving force behind Ferrari claiming the Constructors’ Championship in six successive seasons. He’s also still the record holder for the highest number of fastest laps, having achieved 77 at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.

In 2002, Schumacher finished the season with almost double the amount of points that second-placed Rubens Barrichello achieved. That year, he finished on the podium in every single race, winning 11 of them, and wrapped up the title with six races to spare.

Return and life after F1

Following his five successive triumphs, Michael Schumacher finished third and then second before deciding to hang up his helmet in 2006. But the lure of the track proved too much and he stepped out of retirement to join forces with Mercedes in 2010.

Schumacher’s decision raised eyebrows throughout the world of racing, with few believing that he’d be at the same level as before. Unsurprisingly, his shock U-turn didn’t turn out to be the fairytale return that he’d hoped for as he finished 9th, 8th and 13th before finally calling it a day.

Sadly, following his second retirement, Schumacher suffered a serious brain injury after falling while skiing and he was put into an induced coma for several months. Thankfully, he survived but he has remained incredibly private since the accident.

The outpouring of love and respect from global sports fans for Schumacher at the time was phenomenal and is testament to how highly regarded he is both as a person and as a sportsman.

Hamilton has often suggested that he doesn’t plan on retiring until he achieves one more title to edge ahead of Schumacher in the standings. However, considering the form that Verstappen has shown in recent years, that doesn’t look like happening any time soon.

But whether Hamilton surpasses him or not, there’s no denying that Michael Schumacher is among the greatest drivers of all time and is fully deserving of his spot in our ICON hall of fame.

The top 10 British Grand Prix moments at Silverstone

Following another incredible Formula One season, attention has already turned to next year’s campaign, which gets underway in March. The British Grand Prix returns to Silverstone in July and if history is anything to go by, we’re set for another iconic race. While the F1 drivers enjoy a well-earned break, we’ve taken a look at 10 of our favourite Silverstone moments.

First ever Formula One Grand Prix – 1950

While 1950 was the fourth Formula One season, it was the first ever Drivers’ Championship and saw six Grands Prix take place, as well as the Indy 500.

The first race was held at Silverstone and 26 drivers took part. Alfa Romeo dominated the event as they made up the top four positions.

The race was won by Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio, who went on to win five F1 titles in his career. However he wasn’t the first champion, with Giuseppe Farina eventually winning the inaugural season.

Hamilton and Verstappen collide – 2021

Following one of the most intense championship battles in F1 history, Max Verstappen edged Lewis Hamilton to claim his first title back in 2021. The pair were neck and neck throughout the season and were level going into the final race, with Verstappen eventually coming out on top.

At the British Grand Prix, Hamilton collided with Verstappen going into Copse Corner, causing the Red Bull driver’s rear right tyre to come off, leading to his retirement from the race.

Hamilton was given a 10-second time penalty and while Charles Leclerc briefly overtook him, the Mercedes star fought back and eventually won the race.

Mansell’s iconic overtake of Piquet – 1987

Williams-Honda teammates Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet went toe-to-toe during the 1987 season. And while Piquet eventually won the championship, Mansell got the better of him at Silverstone.

As Mansell stopped to change his tyres with 29 laps to go, he looked to have sacrificed the race as the gap between the pair hit 28 seconds. But the moustached maestro clawed his way back to catch up.

With two laps to go, Mansell faked overtaking on the outside before cutting in to get ahead of Piquet and eventually win the race in extraordinary circumstances.

Hamilton’s first British Grand Prix win – 2008

After finishing second in his debut season, Hamilton claimed his maiden title the following year. Racing for McLaren, he announced himself to the Silverstone crowd by winning the British Grand Prix for the first time.

After an incredibly rainy day, he started fourth in wet conditions but quickly took the lead on the first corner. Kimi Räikkönen battled well against Hamilton but following a tyre change mid-race, there was only going to be one winner.

The rookie raced ahead and eventually won by more than 68 seconds. Hamilton eventually won five races that season as he claimed the first of his seven Formula One championships.

Formula 1 racing at the 2023 British Grand Prix in Silverstone

2024 British Grand Prix Hospitality

Senna hitches a ride from Mansell – 1991

Ayrton Senna claimed his third F1 title in 1991 and by the time the British Grand Prix rolled around, he had already won four races. But Mansell, who finished second that year, ran him close and claimed his second victory of the season at Silverstone.

Senna did his best to keep up with Mansell that day but eventually finished fourth. And in his efforts to keep up with the leader, he ran out of fuel on the finish line.

Not wanting to leave his rival stranded, Mansell offered the Brazilian a lift back and enjoyed a victory lap with Senna sitting on the back of his car.

Ferrari claim first Grand Prix win – 1951

During the maiden Drivers’ Championship, the now iconic Ferrari team failed to win a single race. But in the fifth race of the following year, they claimed their first ever victory at Silverstone.

Jose Froilan Gonzalez won by 51 seconds, finishing ahead of Fangio. Meanwhile, Ferrari teammate Luigi Villoresi joined him on the podium in third.

Silverstone ended up being a happy hunting ground for Gonzalez. He won just two races in his career, with the second one also coming on British soil in 1954.

Schumacher wins from the pit lane – 1998

Seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher won the 1998 British Grand Prix – but the victory came in controversial circumstances. Mika Hakkinen raced into an early lead but the adverse weather conditions forced the safety car out, cutting his lead.

Schumacher overtook to go ahead with 10 laps to go before later being given a 10-second stop-go penalty. He chose to wait until the final lap where he served his penalty from the pits.

The German then won the race from the pit lane and despite Ferrari arguing, the stewards deemed Schumacher’s win to be legitimate.

Mansell becomes most successful British driver – 1992

Despite being 39 years old, Mansell claimed his first and only Drivers’ Championship in 1992, winning nine races in a phenomenal season.

One of those victories came at Silverstone as he finished more than 39 seconds ahead of Williams-Renault teammate Riccardo Patrese.

As well as being a key contribution to his success that season, that was also Mansell’s 28th Grand Prix win, making him the most successful British driver of all time (until Hamilton surpassed him) as he broke Jackie Stewart’s record.

British fans witness Verstappen dominance – 2023

It’s fair to say Verstappen absolutely dominated Formula One in 2023. The Red Bull driver won 19 of the 22 races on the way to his third consecutive title.

One of those wins was at Silverstone back in July during a weekend that saw a record 480,000 people attend. The victory was Verstappen’s sixth win in a row and he’d go on to claim the following four races as well.

It wasn’t a complete walk in the park as he won by just under four seconds. And it was a strong weekend for British drivers as well, with Lando Norris and Hamilton joining Verstappen on the podium.

Schumacher and Hill crash in fierce title battle – 1995

Schumacher and Damon Hill were both vying for the title as they locked horns at Silverstone in 1995. Schumacher eventually won the championship but both drivers were forced to retire after a collision in the British Grand Prix.

After 46 laps, Schumacher was ahead, having taken one pit stop fewer than his opponent. As Hill went to overtake, Schumacher turned inside and the pair collided, both spinning off the track.

Schumacher came back strongly and went on to win his second consecutive title. But Hill had his revenge the following year as he claimed his only ever championship in 1996.

Max Verstappen dominates in record-breaking Formula One season

A breathtaking 2023 Formula One season came to an end over the weekend and it finished just like it started – with a Max Verstappen win.

In the least surprising news of the year, Verstappen was finally crowned champion as he raced to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Following another thrilling season, we’ve taken a look at all the key moments.

Verstappen makes it three in a row

Verstappen was close to unstoppable in 2023 as he ran away with the title. The 26-year-old won his third consecutive Formula One Championship with ease, winning 19 of the 22 races during the season.

The Red Bull driver finished almost 300 points clear of team-mate Sergio Perez in second place and he never really looked like being stopped after winning the season opener in Bahrain.

Verstappen’s win in Italy back in September was his 10th in a row and broke the Formula One record for most consecutive race wins. Meanwhile, his 86.4% win rate broke a record that has stood since 1952.

It wasn’t quite a faultless season for Verstappen, who finished second in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, a disappointing fifth-place finish in Singapore is all that prevented him from finishing on the podium in every single race in 2023.

Formula 1 racing at the 2023 British Grand Prix in Silverstone

Formula 1 2024 Hospitality

How did the rest of the grid get on?

Perez finished second in the standings to ensure a comfortable win for Red Bull. The Mexican driver won both races that Verstappen came second in, as well as finishing on the podium on seven other occasions.

This season was the best of Perez’s career. The 33-year-old came third last year while the previous two seasons saw him just miss out on the top three in fourth.

Elsewhere, Lewis Hamilton finished in third this time around following a steady if unspectacular campaign. The seven-time champion finished on the podium six times, including second-place finishes in Australia, Spain and Mexico.

Although he didn’t win a race, it’s an improvement on his sixth-place finish of 2022. Hamilton will be 39 when next season gets underway but he’s always maintained that he wants to win a record eighth championship before calling it a day.

It remains to be seen if that will be the case and with Verstappen in his current form, Hamilton may be waiting a while to eclipse Michael Schumacher in the all-time standings.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso finished in fourth, swiftly followed by Charles Leclerc. British drivers Lando Norris and George Russell finished sixth and eighth respectively.

Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz Jr, who came seventh, was the only driver other than Verstappen and Perez to win a race. The Spaniard came out on top in Singapore, with Norris and Hamilton making up the podium.

Looking ahead to the 2024 season

We’ve barely had a chance to catch our breath following an action-packed season but all eyes are already looking ahead to 2024. The drivers have a few months to enjoy a much-needed break before preparing for the season opener in Bahrain on 2nd March.

There are 24 races scheduled, with the British Grand Prix set to return to Silverstone in July. Once again, the season will come to a close in Abu Dhabi, with the final race of the year taking place on 8th December next year.

Verstappen is targeting a fourth consecutive title and the early odds would suggest he’s well on track to do so. But there’s a long way to go before that and whatever happens on the track, we’re set for another unforgettable season in 2024.

Whether you fancy joining us at Silverstone or travelling further afield, you can enjoy the racing action from the best seats at the house with Engage’s exclusive hospitality packages.

How will the 2024 F1 Grid line up?

The 2023 Formula 1 season has been an interesting one to say the least. With eighteen races down and only five more to go, we can now start thinking about the 2024 season after Max Verstappen clinched his third consecutive Driver’s Championship in Qatar. The Dutchman has dominated all season but can he repeat his astonishing form in 2024? And what other changes might we see on the F1 grid next season?

After a season of Red Bull dominance, it will be the same pair that take their place on the grid in 2024 as both Verstappen and Sergio Perez are confirmed to race again next year. Red Bull’s closest rivals this season, Mercedes, once again confirm that the British pairing of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will be battling it out to see if they have any chance of regaining the top spot for the first time since 2021.

After a relatively disappointing 2022 season, Hamilton has, so-far, had an improved 2023 season currently sitting in 3rd place in the Driver’s standings. With that said, the Briton still hasn’t won since 2021 and unless he can find that form that we were so used to seeing two years ago, could his time at the top be petering out?

The majority of seats are confirmed in the 2024 F1 paddock, however, it remains to be seen who Alex Albon will be paired up with as Williams are yet to confirm who their number 2 driver will be next season. With American driver Logan Sargent yet to impress, it remains to be seen whether or not he will secure his seat for next season’s championship.

Williams’ team principal James Vowles has said he is willing to wait until the end of the season to reach a conclusion on Sargent’s future with the team. The F1 rookie has had a tough season so far and there are plenty of candidates who could potentially take his place including Liam Lawson, Mick Schumacher and F2 2022 champion Felipe Drugovich. Not to mention the possibility of the Indycar drivers making the transition to F1 including Colton Herta, Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward.

It will be interesting to see how Sargent will respond at the US Grand Prix this weekend as he fights for his seat in front of a home crowd.

F1 Austria Grand Prix Paddock Club

Formula 1 2024 Hospitality

An astonishing 1.8 second pitstop saw a new world record for McLaren in Qatar as they announced that they were sticking with Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris for another season, although not without any drama.

After being frustrated with performance in early 2023, it caused transfer rumours to fly but after an upgrade, Norris made his commitment to the team for the 2024 season. Piastri has also had his contract extended after being signed from Alpine in 2022, dousing out the hopes of any McLaren Indycar drivers making an easy move to F1.

Elsewhere, although there may be no retirements towards the end of the 2023 season, Lewis Hamilton (38), Fernando Alonso (42) and Nico Hulkenburg (36) are all nearing the end of their careers and it remains to be seen whether they will pull the plug on their motorsport futures at the end of 2024. With Hamilton’s contract spanning until 2025 and Alonso on a multi-year deal with Aston Martin, we are unlikely to see the pair leave the grid in 2024.

However, Hulkenburg’s contract with Haas will run out in 2024 meaning we could see the German’s time as a regular face in F1 come to an end?

Perhaps it is too early to make predictions for next season, what with this year’s campaign not even wrapped up. However, it is without doubt that all eyes will be on Max Verstappen and Red Bull examining whether the Dutchman can keep up his magnificent individual form alongside the frightening Red Bull dominance, having only lost one race so far in 2023. Or will we see more fight from Ferrari and Mercedes in 2024? Perhaps with another year’s experience for McLaren’s youngsters we may see them battling it out at the top of the standings.

If any other team is to stand a chance of battling for the top spot in the Constructors Championship, they have to work out how to beat Red Bull first. If you want to see how the F1 grid in 2024 will line up live, check out Engage Hospitality to watch it from the best seats in the house.