Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko is looking forward to a hard, fair fight with Ferrari as the 2022 season begins to heat up.
Red Bull brought upgrades to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that are said to have lost them about 5kg in weight, perceivably placing them level with Ferrari on 808kg, but the exact figure is officially unknown.
Nonetheless, the upgrade seemed to work as Max Verstappen took victory in both the sprint and the race itself, before beating Charles Leclerc to victory in Miami despite missing a heft amount of track time during practice last weekend.
Asides from giving Leclerc and Carlos Sainz new engines in the last two races, Ferrari have not yet put any meaningful new parts on their car since the beginning of the season, but they aim to do so in Barcelona, with revised wings and sidepods planned ahead of Formula 1’s return to Europe.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto revealed his thoughts that their rivals would eventually have to “stop developing” due to the $140 million budget cap this year, and he noted after the race in Imola that this year would be a “race-by-race” championship, with different circuit types favouring the respective cars.
Dr Marko agrees with that assessment, affirming that the two teams are level on pace at present heading into a crucial stage of the season where upgrades are key.
“We will have new parts [in Spain] and will finally reach our optimum weight. So far we have been quite a bit over the required minimum weight of 798 kilograms,” he told F1-Insider.com.
“Us and Ferrari are on an equal footing. We are still looking forward to the big fight and we have full confidence in the FIA to ensure that everything goes well.
“The difference will be made in whoever manages to get the best out of their package on the respective circuits.”
Former owner of the Minardi team, Giancarlo Minardi, observes that Red Bull have used the new ground effect aerodynamics to their advantage in a straight line, and also states that Ferrari’s “porpoising” is of a detriment to their tyres, which might explain the graining on Leclerc’s front right in Miami.
“It is clear that Red Bull has taken advantage of the developments they have been introducing consistently, Ferrari hasn’t put any new parts on the car yet,” he told OA Sports.
“They also make less use of the ground effect and the car suffers from aerodynamic bounce.
“That has a huge effect on the tyres and we could see that in Miami.”
The intrigue will now lie in whether Ferrari’s first major upgrade of the season will improve their bouncing and, subsequently, their straight-line speed and tyre wear.
“We’ll have to see now how effective Ferrari’s solutions are,” added Minardi.
Ferrari lead Red Bull by six points in the Constructors’ Championship after the first five races that have all been won by a combination of Verstappen and Leclerc.