Binotto fires warning at Verstappen about Red Bull’s pace, says Ferrari upgrades planned for Barcelona

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has won the last two races in Imola and Miami.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has put Red Bull’s pace advantage in the last two races down to upgrades they have brought in the early going of the season, and therefore reckons the $140 million cost cap will catch up with them.

Red Bull took an estimated 5kg off their car ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, putting them level with Ferrari on around 808kg overall, and they claimed a one-two as Max Verstappen led home Sergio Perez while Ferrari suffered a torrid day at their home race.

Verstappen then dominated the Miami Grand Prix to claim the win in Florida, epitomising the steps the Austrian outfit have taken since the season opener in Bahrain.

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Ferrari, however, have been more circumspect with their development plan, so Binotto predicts that Red Bull progress will slow given the multiple evolutions they have implemented to the RB18.

“They were faster two races in a row thanks to upgrades early this season. The budget cap sets a limit what you can spend so I hope at one point they will stop developing,” he said, quoted by Tobi Gruner of Auto Motor und Sport.

The upcoming Spanish Grand Prix sees the return to continental Europe and, therefore, a chance for the teams to apply upgrades to their cars.

New sidepods and revised wings are anticipated for the Maranello side, and the Italian confirms that changes are on the way.

“We will bring upgrades at Barcelona. [We] hope they work good enough to catch and fight with them again,” he added.

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Leclerc finished second to Verstappen having claimed pole on Saturday around the Hard Rock Stadium so, while Binotto is pleased with the qualifying pace, he is aware that the relentless being done work to compete with Red Bull must continue at pace.

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We can’t be completely happy with today’s race because, although the F1-75 was competitive, our rivals were a few tenths per lap quicker than us,” he stated.

“If you consider how many points we are taking home from here, we can’t be too disappointed, given that we are leading both championships, but it’s clear we now need to respond. We are keen to get the job done and there are still a lot of races to go.

“I want to congratulate both our drivers for the way they raced today. After a splendid pole yesterday, Charles left nothing on the table in his efforts to win while, from qualifying onwards.”

The Monegasque’s lead over the reigning world champion has been cut to 19 points, while Ferrari lead Red Bull by six points in the Constructors’ Standings.