Many thought Red Bull might have compromised its preparation for 2022 by keeping last year’s development programme going later than others in pursuit of the world championship.
But it appeared at the first test with a car that looks more dramatic than the rest, proving it has again pushed the design and research time to the maximum to keep manufacturing time to a minimum.
Like the Ferrari, it looks stable and manageable. But the one question mark is that Max Verstappen doesn’t look like he has to throw the car around as much as last year to get a lap time out of it, and the team didn’t bother using the softest C5 tyre. Verstappen was happy with C3 so there is more time to come.
He seems to be driving much more precisely than he has over the last couple of years. Perhaps it’s the best way to get a lap time out of these cars and tyres, but I do miss his incredible car control when he is driving on the limit. If this style is required it will bode well for Sergio Perez, who is Mr Smooth.
Testing got off to a solid start for Max Verstappen, the driver happy with his new RB18, but he says the car he ran in Spain won’t be the one he drives next week in Bahrain.
Formula 1 has a new look this season, the sport now using ground effect aerodynamics to create the cars’ downforce.
Verstappen covered 206 laps, more than three race distances, and finished inside the top six.
The reigning World Champion says so far, so good.
“I just focussed on doing a lot of laps and try to really nail down every single aspect of the car,” he told the official F1 website.
“What was positive is the car was running smooth.”
But while he was “happy with the balance” of the new car, he revealed the RB18 will be a lot different at the second test.
“Bahrain is going to be completely different, and heading into race one, the car will be completely different as well,” he added.
According to F1.com journalist Lawrence Barretto, Red Bull will bring a major upgrade to the second outing, the official pre-season test in Bahrain which begins on 10 March.
He said the Barcelona car was “only an early iteration.
“Sources say Red Bull will bring a significantly upgraded car to Bahrain, as was always the plan, and after a reasonably productive opening test focused on reliability and system checks, they’ll turn their attention to chasing performance next week.”
The first pre-season outing concluded with a 1-2 for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton edging George Russell while Perez was a further three-tenths down.
Verstappen was P6 overall, 0.6s slower than Hamilton’s P1 time.
“I don’t really pay attention to the lap times yet; we will look into that in Q3 in Bahrain,” said the Dutchman.
“The car runs really well. In general, the weight is a bit up, but I really enjoy driving the car, it has a nice stable balance and I think they look cool as well – that’s always nice to jump into.”
Red Bull RB18 will be vastly different in Bahrain says Verstappen Red Bull RB18 will be vastly different in Bahrain says Verstappen