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Red Bull F1 Dominance F1 2024

Red Bull & Verstappen: Season’s Unstoppable Force?

03/03/2024

Assessing whether Red Bull and Max Verstappen will once again overshadow their rivals, following the season opener.

Will Red Bull and Max Verstappen once again dominate the season? This is a sentiment that could understandably prevail in the minds of many after the year’s first race.

However, it’s important to remember that the Sakhir circuit might have played to Red Bull’s strengths (particularly emphasizing thermal degradation and rear tire wear) more than other tracks.

Moreover, in Bahrain last year, Max Verstappen finished with a lead half as large (over non-Red Bull teams) as this year, in 2024.

Here are some reasons for hope for Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren… and all those hoping for a tight season!

But of course, Max Verstappen remains the overwhelming favorite for the championship, and if he once again crushes the competition in Jeddah, the rivals will have much to lament.

Is the RB20, according to Max Verstappen, significantly better than the RB19, which was already one of the best F1 cars in history?

“The feeling in the car is quite similar, just a bit better, and that’s exactly what we wanted. I mean, last year’s car was already very good, and now we have a few small improvements here and there. Especially in the slower corners, the car behaves a bit better. But overall, I didn’t feel like I was driving a completely different car. So, that’s a positive point.”

“It’s always a question mark. Looking at the car, you wonder if it will work. But it’s clear that the team has done their homework. They trust all the simulations and the wind tunnel. And they’ve proven to be very good in recent years.”

Max Verstappen lapped half the grid in Bahrain yesterday. Did he expect such a scenario? And what about the rest of the year?

The Milton Keynes driver admits: Bahrain was a very strong circuit for Red Bull. The story could be different in Saudi Arabia… Or is Max feigning pessimism?

“I take the races one at a time because there are so many different scenarios. And Bahrain, it’s also a very particular circuit. In any case, it’s probably one of our strongest. I just want to focus on what needs improvement from this race.”

“In the race, we are always very strong. But in qualifying, the fastest lap was made by Charles in Q2. So, on a single lap, I don’t think it’s that simple. And every circuit is different. Maybe in Jeddah, we’ll have different sensations. Naturally, on circuits with less degradation, the teams will be closer. And yes, fortunately, there aren’t too many Singapores on the calendar. Otherwise, it could have been a bit difficult for us. But we’ll see this year if the car is a bit more competitive on street circuits.”

As Max Verstappen mentioned, the RB20 has evolved significantly from the RB19 – a risk that Sergio Pérez also commends.

“It was really a risk, you know, to change the concept, but everything worked out. The car is very similar, in terms of balance, to what we had last year. As Max says, it’s just better in every way. But like everyone, we are still getting to know our new car. So, I think when we take it to very different circuits, we’ll learn a lot.”

“So, I hope we continue to progress and can develop the car faster than our rivals.”

Sainz knows where Red Bull’s significant advantage lies…

From the competition’s perspective, especially Carlos Sainz, the question arises: what constitutes the fundamental strength of the RB20? Better tire management? Drag? Aerodynamic downforce? All of the above?

What does Carlos Sainz have to say?

“I think Red Bull’s advantage in Bahrain is very clear. It’s interesting to see how they can keep the softs, the C3s, alive a bit longer than the others. They tend to overheat a bit less. Maybe that’s why the car isn’t as competitive in qualifying… and so good in a race on a circuit like Bahrain.”

“But I expect Red Bull to always be better in the race, as it was last year. Look at the last eight races between Charles and me. We managed to snatch a few pole positions, but in the race, Max took a significant lead, and Checo was always able to overtake us.”

“I hope this year’s trend isn’t as exaggerated (Red Bull better in the race than in qualifying) and that we have made a good step forward in this regard, which I already feel. But they are still ahead. So, it’s time to start developing this car to continue closing the gap in the race.”

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