Heading into Melbourne, Red Bull have a chance to make team history, securing three 1-2 victories in a row.
But despite the team’s dominance sparking concern in the paddock that they might be unbeatable, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has warned his team that reliability problems could derail their title challenge.
Two-time world champion Verstappen was forced out of qualifying in P15 in Saudi Arabia after a driveshaft issue forced him to retire the car to the garage.
Even with the tough qualifying position, Verstappen managed to battle back through the field to make it into P2 by lap 25, finishing only 5 seconds behind his teammate.
With Red Bull’s pace advantage being clear for all to see, Verstappen has urged his team to move their focus away from the car’s speed and towards ensuring that reliability issues don’t plague their performance.
“I hope [we can lead] for a long time, but it’s not only about the pace of the car: we need to make sure we are reliable without any issues,” Verstappen told reporters.
“My first weekend was not very clean, because of just the big balance shift from testing to the race weekend, and some other things which are going on in the background.”
“And now again, after three positive practice sessions, where then of course, I have an issue in qualifying. We have to do better. Absolutely. But also just have a cleaner weekend, I think that would be nice as well.”
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez has expressed similar fears that reliability problems will hammer Red Bull at some point during the season.
“Reliability is where it is,” Perez told reporters.
“We were in a lucky position in Bahrain but otherwise if we had to push to the end, we probably wouldn’t make the end of the race so there are a lot of reliability concerns at the moment.”
“It’s going to hit us at some point, but obviously we need to keep working on that, we need to have issue-free races whenever we can.”