Marko addresses Verstappen DRS reliability concern ahead of Monaco Grand Prix

Max Verstappen took advantage of a reliability failure for Charles Leclerc to win the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend.

Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko believes that Max Verstappen could have caught and passed Charles Leclerc for the win even if he had not suffered his mechanical failure in Spain.

Leclerc began the Spanish Grand Prix on pole ahead of the Dutchman, and was leading comfortably after a gust of wind had put Verstappen in the gravel at Turn Four.

The reigning champion was stuck behind George Russell as a result, but he could not find a way past due to the DRS issue that he had been suffering from all weekend.

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Eventually, he executed a three-stop strategy to get ahead of the Briton, and passed team-mate Sergio Perez for the win after Leclerc had retired from the race owing to an MGU-H failure.

Dr Marko confirms that Red Bull are aware of what the issue is with Verstappen’s rear wing, and will have it sorted for the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.

“We now know where the problem lies. There are still five days and a day has 24 hours for us, so that shouldn’t be a problem,” he explained.

The Austrian revealed that DRS caused one or two headaches last season when the weight was easier to control as opposed to the heavier cars under the new technical regulations.

Therefore, it is a fundamental fix that needs doing rather than a weight related one, and no more weight needs to be shed ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix due to the unique, driver-exigent nature of the circuit.

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“We also had the previous year where we didn’t have the weight problems so there is something in the system. And for Monte Carlo, two kilos more or less doesn’t make the difference,” he explained Dr Marko.

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In the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Verstappen closed in on Leclerc having been a considerable distance back due to the sudden tyre drop-off experienced at Ferrari, and Dr Marko believes the same thing would have happened in Spain.

“We initially had to drop back for temperature reasons because we wanted to protect the tyres a bit,” said the nine-time starter in F1 with BRM.

“We get the information about the condition of the tyres from the Ferraris, and at that point they were already significantly worse than ours. 

“So at race speed with DRS, we think we would have passed.”

Verstappen’s victory in Barcelona puts him six points clear of Leclerc at the top of the Drivers’ Championship, while Red Bull have also surpassed Ferrari in the Constructors’ Standings following their one-two finish.