Robbing Mercedes of party modes unfair, says Verstappen

Max Verstappen says that the FIA should not try to rein in the “party modes” used by Mercedes in qualifying, despite his own Red Bull team bosses suggesting that they should be controlled.

Robbing Mercedes of party modes unfair, says Verstappen
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Both Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have suggested that there should be a parc ferme for engine modes, with no changes allowed from qualifying to the race.

However Verstappen says that would be unfair, because he believes that Mercedes has simply done a better job than its rivals.

"Honestly not," he said when asked if he supported a mode parc ferme. "Because they do a better job than anybody else, so why would you take it away? I mean it's not fair to them.

"It's up to F1 to maybe change the rules to make it more difficult to develop things and stuff, but you shouldn't now take it away because they are really, really good. It's unfair to them."

Asked if he understood the frustration of his bosses he added: "Same for me. But you also have to be honest and clear about it, they just do a better job than everyone else. Otherwise I think we should just use all the same engines – but that's not what everybody wants."

He acknowledged that Mercedes demonstrated a huge step in performance in Melbourne qualifying.

"If you suddenly gain 5-6km/h then yeah, it's quite a difference. It's quite clear in qualifying they ramp it up, but it has been like this already for the whole era of V6s. So it's not a new story."

Optimistic for Bahrain

Verstappen is upbeat about Red Bull's prospects for the Bahrain weekend, suggesting that the higher tyre degradation inherent at the track, and easier opportunities to pass, could favour the team.

"For sure the tyre degradation should be a little bit higher, so if we get everything right, then it can be quite an interesting race I think," he said.

"I think in general it's tyre degradation and also more overtaking opportunities, but also just longer braking zones. The track is a little bit wider so you can drive little bit different lines to stay out of the dirty air.

"And I think the DRS is a little bit more efficient here to pass cars. Those kinds of things make it I guess a little bit more interesting."

Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo is anticipating a strong weekend relative to Mercedes, based on the race pace he saw in Australia.

"If we have the same car on Sunday that we had in Melbourne on Sunday then I think we'll be very close," said the Australian. "It's a different track, whatever, but if those circumstances are the same then yeah, I think we'll be very close."

However, he's resigned to the fact that Mercedes will have the advantage in qualifying.

"I think the Mercedes is still going to be very hard to beat. If Lewis and Valtteri put in a clean lap I think they're still going to lock out the front row in the first few races," Ricciardo added.

"Saturday [it's] probably more from the engine – I don't think we have what Mercedes or Ferrari have in qualifying. You use everything, but their everything seems to be a bit more than our everything!

"I think in the race we're just a bit easier on the tyres, but I'm not really sure why that's different. Qualifying we need to find something – we don't want to say it's just the engine, we obviously want to find more with the car, but the car didn't feel too bad in qualifying [in Australia].

"We ran out of front wing – ideally we would have probably had more front end in the car, but otherwise there wasn't really too much more we would have changed with the car itself."

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