Max Verstappen

F1 News: Red bull car no longer fastest, but Verstappen still wins

(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko admits yet another of Red Bull’s new update packages did not work properly last weekend in Barcelona.

McLaren’s Lando Norris, just a couple of seconds behind winner Max Verstappen on Sunday, was annoyed that only a poor race start cost him Spanish GP victory.

It’s clear that Red Bull’s dominance of the 2022-2023 seasons is now gone.

“Verstappen is still happy here because he won,” said F1 veteran Fernando Alonso. “Norris has improved a lot, but he did not win the race.

“Mercedes have also taken a step forward, but they are light years away from Red Bull or from fighting for the championship. And Ferrari are a super team but they are not even on the podium,” the Aston Martin driver summarized.

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher told Sky Deutschland: “If the trend continues, Lando Norris can compete for the world championship.”

Triple world champion Verstappen is also now repeatedly sounding the alarm about Red Bull’s slip from supremacy.

“We never had the speed that McLaren had,” the Dutchman told Viaplay on Sunday, “and we were not good enough on the tires. So we won, but again we didn’t have the fastest car.

“I’m happy to win of course, but we can’t keep this up the whole season. I’ve been worried about this for a while. We have to get it under control again.”

Red Bull’s rivals had bigger upgrades in Barcelona, but the championship-leading car did feature a new beam wing and rear wing end-plates in Spain.

“The update didn’t work from the start,” admits team consultant Dr Helmut Marko. “We bring things that are much better in theory, but we don’t implement it on the track.”

Mercedes’ James Allison recently said Red Bull’s upgrades in 2024 appear to be more like “downgrades”.

“That’s bullsh*t of course,” Verstappen hit back on Sunday. “The upgrades certainly improve the car, but everyone around us is simply making bigger steps than we are.

“I had hoped that we would be ahead on tracks like this,” he continued, “but we’ve seen for a few races now that it’s getting more difficult.”

1-minute behind teammate Max verstappen was Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20 during the Spanish GP at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Zak Mauger / LAT Images)

Teammate Sergio Perez, who struggled yet again in Barcelona despite his new contract, thinks Red Bull actually has deeper issues than the need for more upgrades.

“The important thing now is to improve the balance,” said the Mexican. “It’s something we’re working on very hard with the engineers with aggressive changes during the weekend, which I don’t think are working.

“We really need to understand this problem, and that’s more important than anything else, at least for me.”

Even sister team RB’s big upgrade package in Barcelona appeared to be a total failure, despite a downcast boss Laurent Mekies admitting: “We worked so hard for this upgrade, but it was really a very weak weekend.”

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