Red Bull Racing go into the upcoming double-header full of “optimism”, with both the Baku City Circuit and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve possessing an incredibly long straight.
The RB18 has been superior by far when it comes to top speed this season, with both Scuderia Ferrari and the Mercedes F1 Team having little to say against the matter.
With that in mind, this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix could well result in a Red Bull 1-2, with the venue consisting of a 2.22km long main straight.
What’ll be interesting in Baku is whether the RB18 has the speed to be able to defend from someone with DRS, something they managed at the Miami Grand Prix.
DRS is usually extremely effective at the circuit, which has seen a different winner at each Formula 1 event there.
Red Bull senior advisor Dr Helmut Marko isn’t expecting “big margins” over their opponents, however, the 79-year-old is excited to see the RB18’s top speed unleashed.
“Now we look forward with optimism to Baku and Montreal, where long straights await us on which our top speed will come into play,” Marko said.
“However, I don’t think there will be big margins. It will be crucial to find the right set-up and good tyre management straight away.”
The Austrian also revealed that the team’s car still has plenty of weight to lose.
Weight has been a huge problem for most teams this season under the new regulations, with some going to the extreme lengths of removing paint to reduce weight, most notably Williams Racing.
Marko believes that Ferrari have already gotten to their desired weight, whereas he predicts Mercedes are currently in a similar position to them in needing to lose some more.
With Red Bull already being one of the fastest teams on the grid and still having weight to lose, their car will be monstrous once they reach their targeted amount.
“It’s a process that takes time,” Marko continued.
“Let’s say today the positive aspect is we will gain a few tenths when we reach the target. Are we five kilos short? Let’s say it’s not such a wrong assumption.
“I think Ferrari are at the [weight] limit, while Mercedes should be in line [with our situation].”
Mercedes are a team on both Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s minds at the moment, with the eight-time defending Constructors’ championships starting to close the gap to them.
The German team were much more competitive at the Spanish Grand Prix than the Monaco Grand Prix, with consistent pace proving to be an issue for the W13.
Nevertheless, Marko is “worried” about Mercedes’ “potential”.
“Speaking of Mercedes, we have seen every now and then they are able to post incredibly fast laps, both in practice and in the race, and they do it with both drivers,” said the Austrian.
“They still can’t do it consistently so it’s hard to understand where that performance comes from, and talking to some well-informed people it turned out they probably don’t even know in the team.
“What worries us is the potential seems to be there, and once they manage to make it consistent over the distance of a race they will be there to play for the win,” concluded the senior Red Bull advisor.