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Red Bull Winter Testing

Marko Estimates Red Bull’s Lead at Three-Tenths in F1

22/02/2024

On the inaugural day of F1’s 2024 winter testing, Red Bull and Verstappen showcased unbeatable speed and reliability, marking themselves as the season’s frontrunners.

The first day of Formula 1’s 2024 winter testing saw Max Verstappen and Red Bull resume their winning ways, posting the fastest time while demonstrating exceptional reliability and ease. While it’s still early in the season, the reigning world champions are clearly contenders this year.

Helmut Marko, advisor to the Austrian team, was delighted with the new RB20’s debut, finding the car “very, very impressive.”

“We completed 143 laps without encountering any significant issues. And this new concept is working. That was the main goal for this first day. The car is performing as expected, and we’re moving in the right direction. Yes, things are looking good.”

“The car responded perfectly to whatever setup changes we made. We’re really smiling. Max had positive feedback.”

“The gap isn’t as big as it seems. We were the only ones to hit the track with new medium tires during the cooler evening hours. That explains the big leap we made in the afternoon.”

While admitting that Red Bull took a “risk” with its F1 evolution this winter, Marko is pleased to see the competition facing issues not affecting his team.

“Looking at Mercedes, they faced some problems, whereas our car worked from the first lap. So, we’re happy and proud.”

“Moreover, the reliability is incredible. And regarding tire wear, we’ve noticed once again that Ferrari has more issues than we do with the tires.”

“The McLaren seems a bit more nervous. As for Mercedes, I don’t know what they’ve done. They’re certainly faster than they’ve shown, but we can be confident.”

“I think our competitors didn’t expect the F1 car we’ve produced,” adds the Austrian, seemingly amused by the situation. “What can I say? All the cars look like what we had last year. Now we’ve given them something else to copy (laughs).”

The RB20 is off to a strong start.

“We knew others would copy us,” stated Adrian Newey. “Simply developing last year’s car a bit more wouldn’t have been enough.”

Marko finally estimates Red Bull’s lead to be “about three-tenths.”

Pierre Waché is “surprised” by Mercedes F1’s concept

While Red Bull appears to be the favorite for this season, though it’s far too early to draw conclusions, Pierre Waché, the Austrian team’s technical director, noted interesting data from the competition.

“The Mercedes is a surprise to me. Their concept is surprising. It’s interesting. The Aston Martin also looks good. I haven’t had time to observe all the other cars in detail. Teams didn’t reveal much during the presentations, but I’m sure we’ll discover more interesting things.”

The Frenchman also shared his thoughts on Mercedes F1’s W15, particularly its much-discussed front wing: “Their front wing is very interesting.”

“When Mercedes presented this wing, many were quick to question its legality. If the FIA approves it, then we’ll probably explore what it can do in the wind tunnel.”

With over a second’s lead over the competition this Wednesday, the RB20 is already the F1 car to beat in 2024, but Waché remains cautious and doesn’t write off the competition.

“Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren are our main concerns, and after Aston Martin did well last year, I think these are the four teams we’re watching. I don’t want to discount the others, but based on what I saw last year and the year before, that’s my assessment.”

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