Rivals’ inconsistency is good news for Red Bull - Marko

"It won’t be a clear story for us anymore"


13 June 2024 - 18:13
Rivals' inconsistency is good (…)

The formerly dominant Red Bull team’s 2024 rivals are steadily closing the remaining gap.

Max Verstappen actually extended his championship lead in Montreal, but Mercedes’ George Russell was on pole and the triple world champion only narrowly won over McLaren driver Lando Norris.

Red Bull F1 consultant Dr Helmut Marko admits the 2024 titles are no longer a dead certainty.

"It won’t be a clear story for us anymore because our car and our simulator have certain weaknesses," he told Osterreich newspaper. "But we are working hard to fix that.

"The good thing for us is that the others cannot achieve consistency, so if everything goes normally for us, Max will be ahead."

When asked what’s wrong with Red Bull’s simulator, Marko added: "It doesn’t simulate the curbs properly. It’s technically up to date, it just isn’t properly interpreting."

After a bad weekend in Monaco, however, Red Bull’s engineers made setup tweaks for Montreal - and what Marko describes as the "Max factor" ultimately led to a return to the top step of the podium.

"We were totally wrong with the setup (in Monaco) and drove much too stiffly. We managed that better in Montreal," he said.

However, Ferrari, McLaren and even Mercedes are now looking like potentially winning teams for the remaining races of the season.

"Let’s see," said Marko. "The next three races will show how good the cars really are.

"But Mercedes was strong last year in Barcelona and then they weren’t strong anymore after that. So after Spielberg and Silverstone - two more real race tracks - we’ll know then where we really stand."

Mercedes’ technical boss James Allison admits that a successful car update aside - specifically a new front wing - the track layout and asphalt in Canada "may have flattered us a little".

"I don’t think we’re quite that high in the balance of power yet," he said.

But Austrian racing driver and Servus TV analyst Philipp Eng thinks Montreal actually also suited the increasingly difficult-to-handle Red Bull.

"They have a car that works when it can be driven very low to the ground," he said. "Canada has been resurfaced, so they were able to exploit the advantage.

"It’s very close together now, and McLaren and Mercedes have caught up a lot," Eng added. "But Red Bull and Max is still the best package."

The latest news from Italy, meanwhile, is that Ferrari is accelerating its next major car update following a particularly bad outing last weekend in Canada.

Sky Italia claims a package of components originally planned for Silverstone, promising about a 2-tenth step forward, may now hit the asphalt next weekend in Barcelona.

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