Red Bull’s engine consultant, Masashi Yamamoto, believes that Ferrari will have the upper hand in Hungary just before the summer break, but anticipates a strong performance from Red Bull in France this weekend.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have, between them, won seven races this season, and six of those were consecutive after the Scuderia had no answer to the upgrade introduced at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
However, Carlos Sainz won the British Grand Prix after a horrible day for the Austrian side, and indeed his team-mate Charles Leclerc due to a strategic error, before the Monegasque sealed the win at Red Bull’s home race in Austria last time out.
There will still be concerns regarding Ferrari’s reliability this weekend at Paul Ricard after Sainz’s engine failure in Spielberg, but the straight-line speed and the race pace of the Ferrari has looked solid in recent rounds.
Yamamoto is the former managing director of Honda, who were set to withdraw from supplying Red Bull with engines at the end of last year.
He became Red Bull’s consultant to help them build their own powertrains using the information they had purchased from the Japanese car maker, but they did not have the facilities to realistically become a manufacturer, so continued to outsource the engine building to Honda until the end of 2025.
However, the 58-year-old has been keeping a close eye on things at Milton Keynes, and he believes that the fast-paced nature of the Paul Ricard Circuit will give Red Bull the advantage due to their power advantage.
“I think France is more in Red Bull’s favour, so we can’t drop it, it’s a crucial point,” Yamamoto said.
However, the mechanical grip and the superior traction that Ferrari have in the F1-75, in Yamamoto’s eyes, makes the Italian side the favourites in Budapest.
“In Hungary, on the contrary, I have a feeling that Ferrari will win because they have better traction at low and medium speeds,” he added.
“But I think Red Bull will do something to counter that.”
Verstappen currently leads Leclerc by 38 points in the Drivers’ Standings following his win in Styria, while Red Bull hold a 56-point advantage over the Scuderia in the constructors’ battle.
Yamamoto would like to build on that in the final two rounds before the teams break off for a well-earned rest.
“I want to finish the two races before the summer break in good shape,” he stated.
Perez joined Sainz on the list of non-finishers in Spielberg in the last race after he picked up excessive damage from a first lap collision with Mercedes’ George Russell.