Red Bull’s Motorsport director, Helmut Marko, has expressed his optimism after the outfit fell behind Mercedes and Ferrari early in the season as it plans to upgrade its chassis for the race at Barcelona next month. He also says that Renault will improve its engine for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Three races into the new season, Red Bull sits 55 points adrift of constructors’ championship leader Ferrari and Marko acknowledged the effort needed to emulate the team’s championship-winning success from 2010-2014.
Marko laid part of the blame for Red Bull’s lacking performance on the Renault engine, which will also face an upgrade after concerns over power output and reliability. The team even reverted to its 2016 MGU-K for the Australian Grand Prix as a precaution as Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Renault all faced failures during pre-season testing at Barcelona.
Aerodynamically, the car is not as balanced as Ferrari’s or Mercedes’, particularly in the turbulent wake of opponents.
“We have two problems: Renault had some reliability issues, which have slowed them down in the development; and we didn’t deliver the chassis that we should have done,” said Marko to the official Formula 1 website.
“But we are working day and night to pick up our shortcomings. We are pretty optimistic that we will make a significant step forward in Barcelona where a big change of parts is coming.”
“The chassis will be ‘revamped’ in Barcelona and Renault is planning something for Montreal,” he said.
Max Verstappen has given the team its only podium and best result in China, and the young Dutchman showed great pace in Bahrain, running in fourth and challenging Lewis Hamilton for a podium, until his brakes failed early on.
His team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, finished fifth, having recovered from Hamilton’s hold-up in the pit entry after the safety car was deployed on lap 13. After the safety car restart, however, Ricciardo struggled on cold tyres and was overtaken by Williams’ Felipe Massa at one point.
Team Principal Christian Horner echoed Marko’s comments on revamping the car in Bahrain, with a more tentative optimism at the FIA’s press conference.
“I’m sure several teams are targeting Barcelona with various update packages and we’re no different.
“But in between now and then we’re trying to get performance on the car, understand some of the issues and constantly move it forward,” said Horner.
In reply to a question on whether the upgrade will be significant or not, he said: “If it delivers lap time, yes. It’s a significant cost, so we’ll see. Hopefully it will be value for money.”
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