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RB F1's Mekies Bridging Top-5 Gap a Season's Challenge

RB F1’s Mekies: Bridging Top-5 Gap a Season’s Challenge

02/04/2024

In a revealing assessment, RB F1’s Laurent Mekies doubts closing the performance gap to F1’s leading quintet early this season, highlighting the need for strategic developments.

The first three races have illustrated a clear performance divide into two groups: the top five teams—Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin—leading the remaining five.

Yuki Tsunoda’s eighth place at the Australian Grand Prix pushed RB F1 to sixth in the overall standings, but Mekies feels aiming higher will be challenging.

“At this time, the gap to the top 5 is too significant. For the season’s first part, it’s best forgotten. Staying ahead in this mid-field second group will already be a massive fight, and I believe anything we can add to the car will likely just be enough to maintain our position.”

“We’re bracing for a tough start to the season, hoping we can introduce a bit more performance in the year’s second half and narrow the gap to the top 5.”

Mekies emphasizes the importance of seizing every opportunity, considering his team has shown enough qualifying pace to edge ahead of the other four teams: Haas, Williams, Stake, and Alpine F1.

“With the current field setup, with the top five teams far ahead of the last five, every point will be precious. If those guys have no issues, you’re ending up 11th, even if you’re leading your group. So, banking four points in Australia was crucial.”

“It was touch-and-go in Bahrain—we were 11th in Bahrain, I think by 0.007s off Q3—then we made Q3 in Saudi Arabia, we made Q3 in Melbourne, so we’re leading this group but by virtually nothing. It’s always on the edge. It’s great for racing, great for the fans, and great for us. It’s about executing every race weekend perfectly.”

“If you nail your weekend, you know you’re leading the chasing pack but not yet in the top 5. Then, a development race will surely start now.”

“We’ll have a minor update for Japan, I’m sure the others will too, but it’s a mix between this development race and having to execute perfectly on race weekends to leave with some points.”

RB F1’s Mekies: Bridging Top-5 Gap a Season’s Challenge. RB F1’s Mekies: Bridging Top-5 Gap a Season’s Challenge

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