Red Bull upgrade not working well yet - Marko

Newey ’closer and closer’ to Ferrari contract


18 May 2024 - 11:18
Red Bull upgrade not working well (…)

Ferrari has become a "serious opponent" for the dominant Red Bull team, the latter’s top F1 consultant Dr Helmut Marko admitted at Imola.

Maranello-based Ferrari brought a major upgrade to this weekend’s race, with Red Bull technical boss Pierre Wache admitting the new components on his drivers’ cars are less "visible".

La Repubblica newspaper headlined after Friday at Imola: "The new Ferrari works".

Indeed, Charles Leclerc was quickest in both sessions, while Max Verstappen could not rise above fifth fastest in a notably scrappy session for the championship leader.

"We were the most consistent across all disciplines," Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur admitted.

So while Ferrari’s upgrade clearly seems to work, Red Bull have been left scratching their head.

"The upgrade and the setup don’t fit together yet," Marko confessed.

"We developed in the wrong direction and are completely out of the window. The car doesn’t work with any tyre compound," the Austrian lamented.

Verstappen was a full half-second off the pace, with Marko adding: "We were even further behind in the long runs. That alarms me more than the fastest lap.

"What worries me the most is that Max has problems with it. And if Max can’t get it under control, then something is very wrong."

81-year-old Marko also told Sky Deutschland: "The car reacts differently every time, and above all is completely unpredictable.

"It may be the case that some of the new parts do not function optimally as a package. But we don’t think it’s a fundamental problem, otherwise it would be the case in every sector."

And in contrast, "It is impressive what Ferrari is showing," Marko added.

"The competition is getting closer - that is a fact," he told Kleine Zeitung newspaper. "Ferrari has certainly taken a step forward. I see them as our most serious opponent."

Mercedes also has an upgraded car at Imola, and the team and drivers sounded more positive than usual after Friday’s proceedings.

Marko said: "Sometimes they are at the front and then suddenly they are completely gone again. Let’s see if they can untie their Gordian knot with their upgrade."

Newey ’closer and closer’ to Ferrari contract

Adrian Newey is inching "closer and closer" to a sensational move to Ferrari.

From Imola, Britain’s Daily Mail claims the departing Red Bull technical guru has even put pen-to-paper on a forthcoming switch to Ferrari, where he will be united for 2025 and beyond with Lewis Hamilton.

Italy’s Corriere della Sera is not so sure an actual contract has been signed, but correspondent Daniele Sparisci - also at Imola - believes a deal is "getting closer and closer" by the day.

Newey, admitting he was "tired", said in his most recent interview that he will "probably" return to Formula 1 after a break with his wife Amanda.

But when asked at Imola what he thinks Newey’s next move will be, Red Bull consultant Dr Helmut Marko told Kleine Zeitung newspaper: "He will stay in Formula 1.

"I’m sure of that."

The 81-year-old admits losing Newey is a "huge" blow to Red Bull, having utterly dominated the new ground effect regulations era to date.

"Adrian Newey is the most successful designer since the founding of Formula 1," he told the same Austrian newspaper. "When you lose someone like that, it is always a huge loss.

"On the other hand, we have set up our technical team very well with young people. There is Ben Waterhouse and the established Pierre Wache. That’s why I don’t think there will be a drop in technical performance."

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