Sergio Perez will be on level pegging with Max Verstappen in Miami this weekend, as the upgrade given to the Dutchman in Imola has now been made available to the 32-year-old.
Red Bull introduced a new package to Verstappen’s car at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that lost them an estimated 5kg and gained them a suspected quarter of a second in lap time.
It arrived after adviser Dr Helmut Marko confirmed that the team would take a risk with the development of the RB18 by implementing an upgrade despite the lack of practice time and the impact it would have on the $140 million budget this season.
Verstappen utilised his improved car to good effect as he led Perez home for the team’s first one-two in over five years, and he looked impervious to the threat of the Ferraris and indeed his team-mate.
As it turns out, the Mexican did not receive the same upgrade due to the time constraints of preparing two sets of the same evolution. In other words, they did not have Perez’s upgrade ready in time for the race in Bologna.
What that does mean is that they were able to cross reference the performance of one car compared to the other as they ran slightly different chassis.
Team principal Christian Horner cannot say for sure the extent of the upgrade, but he commented that it certainly has not served as a detriment.
“We don’t know how much the new update has given us, but it certainly hasn’t made us slower,” he said.
Ferrari are also making changes this weekend by giving Charles Leclerc the same improved power unit as they gave Carlos Sainz in Imola, and new skids on the back of the car are expected to augment their stability in a straight line and in the corners by reducing the effects of “porpoising.”
The Scuderia are then said to be bringing a more substantial change to the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks, which includes new suspension and tweaked sidepods.