Red Bull worried after Max Verstappen hit with ‘significant disadvantage’

Red Bull’s driver pairing has had a great start to the 2023 season, as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez secured back-to-back one-two finishes for the team.

Leaving Saudi Arabia, Red Bull looks to have a firm grip on the 2023 season, having racked up one-two finishes in the opening two races.

While it might be thought that the strong performances from the reigning world champions would put the Red Bull team at ease, that’s not the case.

Team principal Christian Horner fears that Red Bull impending penalty for breaching the 2022 cost cap will hamper their title chances, as they suffer a 10 percent reduction in wind tunnel and CFD allocation.

“It’s been a wonderful start for us having achieved those one-two finishes in both of the opening two Grands Prix,” Horner said.

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“It’s something we’ve never achieved previously. To have both Max [Verstappen] and Checo [Perez] delivering at the level they are is magnificent for us as a team.”

Red Bull is cautious that, while it has a pace advantage over its competitors at this stage of the season, that gap will close up as its rivals develop their cars and hone their performances.

“We have a significant disadvantage in our wind tunnel time and our development capacity this year and therefore while we have a competitive car, it’s important that we get those points on the table as quickly as we can,” Horner said.

The team is also believed to be facing another challenge internally, as tension between Verstappen and Perez risks boiling over on track, with the two locked in a close battle for the Drivers’ Championship.

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Verstappen managed to cling onto his lead in the title race after Saudi Arabia when he snatched the fastest lap point from Perez as he crossed the finish line. 

The final lap sprint by Verstappen seemed to go against team orders and left Perez calling for an internal investigation among the Red Bull team over the communication issues between the drivers and pitwall.

Red Bull have been warned by former Formula One driver Marc Surer that the situation at the team could “explode” and damage their title hopes if it’s not resolved swiftly.