Red Bull pinpoint key area they can gain on Ferrari

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have, between them, won five races for Red Bull this year.

Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko reckons that the team will be able to unlock even more potential from the RB18 once they finally make the regulation weight.

The weight limit has been set at 798kg this season by the FIA due to the ground effect aerodynamics, which have made the cars a lot heavier.

All the teams bar Alfa Romeo have failed to make that weight, and it is thought that Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes are the teams that have been struggling with it the most.

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In a bid to save weight in Barcelona, the Austrian outfit suffered from DRS failures on Max Verstappen’s rear wing, exemplifying that caution must be taken as teams seek to make their cars lighter.

Despite the issues, and Ferrari’s pace advantage in Monaco, the Milton Keynes-based side have won all of the last four races through a combination of Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Once they get rid of the excess baggage on the car, they will discover even more pace that might extend their championship edge over the Scuderia.

“Losing weight doesn’t happen overnight,” Dr Marko said.

“It is therefore a positive point that we still have a reserve of a few tenths of a second as soon as we reach the minimum weight. 

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“We are still too heavy, however, we think Ferrari is already around the weight limit, while Mercedes are about the same weight as us.”

Ferrari looked to have an almost unassailable advantage over Red Bull in Monaco until the final run in qualifying, when Verstappen’s immaculate first sector put him on for a front row start behind Charles Leclerc.

That came after the reigning champion had been struggling at Turn One all weekend but, when he did finally hook it up, Perez crashed at Portier, subsequently taking out Carlos Sainz and bringing out the red flag.

Perez would eventually take the win from third after Red Bull outplayed Ferrari on strategy in changing conditions, and Dr Marko affirms that the gap between the teams was not as substantial as it might have appeared throughout practice.

“The practice results in Monte Carlo say nothing about the real balance of power between Red Bull and Ferrari,” he explained.

“Max had problems with a corner in all four sessions (including qualifying) worth three-tenths of a second.

“In sector two and three, Verstappen was within a hundredth of a second, or even ahead of the rest. 

“On his very last [qualifying] lap, he finally succeeded in the first sector and, according to our forecasts, he would have at least been on the front row.

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“I think Leclerc could not be caught up, but it does mean that those three to four-tenths of a second behind did not paint the true picture.”

Red Bull have fixed the DRS issue that affected Verstappen in Spain, and do not expect the problem to recur in Baku this weekend when their drivers open the flap at 300kph.