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Verstappen Eyes Victory in Suzuka After Australia Setback

Verstappen Eyes Victory in Suzuka After Australia Setback

03/04/2024

Max Verstappen aims for a triumphant return at Suzuka, a track where he has celebrated significant successes, including two consecutive wins and a drivers’ title in 2022.

Following a withdrawal in Australia, Max Verstappen is keen to make a strong comeback in Japan, a circuit filled with fond memories for him. Indeed, he won the last two editions there and clinched the drivers’ title in 2022, while Red Bull secured the constructors’ championship last year.

“Suzuka is always an incredible track for racing. As a team, we’ve had many special memories here over the years, including last year’s constructors’ championship victory, as well as my second drivers’ title,” Verstappen stated.

“It’s nice to have some downtime with family and friends before the races start, and it’s always a pleasure to spend time in Tokyo,” continued the Dutchman, who aims to move past the disappointment of the Australian GP.

“The last race in Melbourne was unfortunate, and these things happen, but we’ve won nine races in a row, which is quite an achievement, so we want to come back even stronger this weekend. The team feels confident about Suzuka: it’s an iconic track and always fun to drive.”

“The circuit has many high-speed turns and experiences significant wear, and we need to ensure we optimize our performance wherever we can, especially with rain predicted for this weekend. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car and being ready to fight for the win this weekend.”

Pérez expects rain to play a role

Sergio Pérez, for his part, is a big fan of Japan and the Suzuka circuit. He anticipates that rain will complicate the drivers’ race preparation and hopes to excel on this track he enjoys.

“I’m looking forward to this week; Japan is always a major race on the calendar, and this year, we’re going there much earlier in the season, which should make things interesting. I always enjoy going to Tokyo before race week starts; Japanese food is one of my favorites,” said the Mexican.

“So, I’ll make sure to enjoy that before heading to Suzuka to focus on the race. This track always offers exciting races, and the downhill into the first turn is iconic in this sport; it’s fun if you’re leading at that point!”

“The weather can really affect things here, with rain often coming in, and this time of year seems no different, so we’ll need to maximize the time we have with the car to perfect the settings.”

“Australia wasn’t the best time for the team, it’s unfortunate to have been penalized and to have sustained damage during the race, but we’ve overcome moments like this before. We want to make it back to the podium this weekend.”

Marko Unruffled by Verstappen’s Melbourne Exit

Dr. Helmut Marko emphasizes that he harbors “no concerns” regarding a recurrence of the brake issue that led to Max Verstappen’s exceedingly rare retirement at Melbourne for Red Bull.

The Red Bull advisor asserts that Verstappen, who still leads the drivers’ standings albeit by a mere 5 points, has adeptly navigated the setback.

“Unfortunately, such faults sometimes occur,” stated the 80-year-old Austrian. “In the meantime, Max is skiing in Japan, enjoying the world’s finest deep snow.”

“He lifted his spirits effortlessly and has moved on.”

When questioned about whether Verstappen’s skiing session violated a clause in his contract pertaining to engaging in dangerous off-track activities, Marko’s response was evasive. “I’ve already told you too much,” he replied.

Regarding whether Red Bull has pinpointed the exact issue with the brake caliper that led to the Melbourne failure, Marko admits they have not.

“The precise cause remains unknown. We know it wasn’t the Brembo caliper. It’s more of an assembly issue. I’m not worried about this weekend; it’s not a problem.”

“Suzuka is a power circuit that suits us, and Max is always fantastic there. I’m very optimistic.”

Verstappen Eyes Victory in Suzuka After Australia Setback. Verstappen Eyes Victory in Suzuka After Australia Setback

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