F1: Red Bull to slash car weight for Imola

(GMM) Red Bull could speed ahead of Ferrari after next weekend’s Australian GP.

That is the view of Dr Helmut Marko, after world champion Max Verstappen only managed to beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in Saudi Arabia after an intense battle.

“Ferrari are fast in all conditions, regardless of track temperature or tire. Our car is more difficult to tune, but for Imola we are preparing new parts that will reduce the weight of the car.

“This should bring a significant gain in lap times,” he told the Austrian broadcaster Servus TV.

Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko looks on in the Paddock (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

F1’s imminent return to Melbourne, however, could see a repeat of the incredibly close Ferrari versus Red Bull duel.

“I think Melbourne will be about the same as Jeddah,” said Marko, 78.

He thinks Ferrari is also currently enjoying an engine advantage.

“Ferrari are ahead,” said the Austrian. “Honda, or rather Red Bull Powertrains, is in second place. And Mercedes, unusually, only in third.

“But there is the opportunity for them to work on that until September 1, so in this phase we have to get as many points as possible.”

When asked about Ferrari’s power advantage, Marko said it’s predominantly “in the area of electrical energy”.

“We hope that Honda will follow suit,” he admitted. “In terms of chassis, Mercedes has the strongest bouncing, but I think that’s just a matter of time. Once they solve that, they can fine-tune the car.

“Ferrari’s main advantage is that it’s more forgiving,” said Marko. “We may have the trickier car – a prima donna. But the important thing is that the potential is there.”