Jury out on Red Bull upgrade, qualifying tweak

"We still have to improve a few things"


22 July 2023 - 09:07
Jury out on Red Bull upgrade, qualifying

he jury is out as to how successful Red Bull’s rare-in-2023 car upgrade is in Hungary.

Sergio Perez crashed one version of the package in FP1, with Dr Helmut Marko revealing the Mexican is now out of spare parts.

As for Max Verstappen, he was out of the top ten in the later session - with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in P1.

"Because of the new tyre distribution, everyone is doing something different so it’s almost impossible to read where everyone is," Leclerc said.

"Red Bull may not have had the best day, but I still expect them at the front."

Marko agreed that Verstappen’s car still needs "fine-tuning".

"But we’re strong on the long run. That calms me down," said the Austrian.

"We still have to improve a few things, but we know where to start."

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton joined Leclerc in criticising the smaller-than-usual tyre availability in Hungary, as part of a qualifying format tweak.

Verstappen agreed.

"It’s not ideal because the aim was to save the tyres and that’s not fair on the people in the stands," said the Dutchman.

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri is also disappointed with the format tweak trial, commenting: "It’s not so much fun when you only have a couple of sets of tyres for the whole of Friday."

As for Daniel Ricciardo’s return to racing action in the Alpha Tauri, boss Franz Tost said it’s "understandable" that teammate Yuki Tsunoda was quicker on the soft tyre runs.

But he is happy to have the experienced Australian onboard.

"He drove the best car (the Red Bull) last week - that means he can tell us whether we have a hopeless car or whether we can do something about it," said the Austrian.

"I told him he should never have left. This is his team, this is his home."

Tost is therefore not putting a halt to speculation that Red Bull might see Ricciardo as the eventual replacement for the struggling Sergio Perez.

"If a driver changes from Alpha Tauri to Red Bull, that’s 100 percent ok with us," he smiled. "Personally, I prefer that to another driver being taken on. That’s what we’re here for."

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