Red Bull lacking both power and downforce, says Verstappen

Max Verstappen says Red Bull’s new Formula 1 car is lacking both power and downforce, after a troubled weekend so far at the Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull lacking both power and downforce, says Verstappen
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, leads Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13

Although his weekend has not been helped by difficulties chasing the set-up, fifth-fastest Verstappen says he has been left in no doubt that the Milton Keynes-based outfit is not a match for Mercedes or Ferrari at the moment.

“We are behind. It's lacking grip, lacking power. Bit of both,” he said.

“We have to work on the car. We need more downforce, we need more grip. Tomorrow we don't have it, but for sure the factory will work hard.”

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who spun out of Q3, added: “Coming in here, we thought - if we're within half a second, that's okay for where we are at the moment and we can build from that. But, obviously, we're more than a second off.

“It's a tough one for now. I think, sure, Ferrari and Mercedes are quicker. I look at the onboards and it's just, like, the rear is more planted. It just seems like they've nailed a bit more downforce at the moment. We've still obviously got a bit of work to do ahead.”

Set-up sensitivity

As well as the team struggling for overall pace, matters have not been helped with Red Bull’s new car proving particularly sensitive to set-up changes – which has affected Verstappen in particular.

“For me so far it's been a really troubled weekend,” said Verstappen. “I didn't really do a lot of running and we tried different set-ups, and it’s always going from one to the other direction so you want to change again but it takes a lot of time.”

He added: “It was similar in testing, it was quite tricky as well to find a good balance - and, yeah, we definitely need to work on that.”

Suspension explanation

There have been suggestions that Red Bull's struggles may have been exacerbated by the recent FIA clarification over trick suspension systems.

It is understood that the Milton Keynes-based team and Mercedes ditched some sophisticated elements from their designs amid concerns that they could fall foul of the rules.

But both Verstappen and Ricciardo insisted that any changes made to suspension parts since last year was not a contributing factor.

“I don't think it's suspension-related or something,” explained Verstappen. “We just need to look into everything and try to improve everything.

Ricciardo added: “I think if Ferrari were dominating and if Mercedes dropped back a bit, we could maybe say 'yeah, look, we've lost a key component'. But the fact Mercedes is still quick, I probably wouldn't put it down to that. There hasn't been talk of that within the team, no.”

When asked then where the problems were coming from, Verstappen said: “I don't know at the moment. If we knew, it would be solved. We don't know yet. We are looking into everything at the moment.”

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