Revealed: Red Bull nearly failed to start Spanish Grand Prix due to fuel issue

Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

Red Bull are said to have been close to not making the start of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday due to difficulty in getting the fuel temperature up to the minimum requirement.

This is according to a report by Tobi Gruner of Auto Motor und Sport, who also indicates that Ferrari wanted the regulation around fuel temperature to be changed.

In the opening five races of the season, the fuel temperature was said to be placed at 18 degrees Celsius, and a failure to meet this requirement would result in either a pit lane start or an incapacity to contest the race, the former of which was the consequence for Aston Martin in Miami.

READ: Max Verstappen pleased to win after ‘not nice’ incident

The speculation around Ferrari wanting it changed reportedly stems from the fact that the Mercedes and Honda engines – which power the Mercedes and Red Bull teams respectively – find it more difficult to perform in higher temperatures.

Indeed, Mercedes began to suffer from overheating issues over the course of the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend, to the extent that Sir Lewis Hamilton was forced to back off and cede fourth place to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz at the end.

Ahead of the last round in Barcelona, the rule was changed to dictate that the minimum fuel temperature is to be 10 degrees Celsius below the air temperature measured two hours before the start of the grand prix.

In each of the last two rounds in Miami and Barcelona, the air temperature has been above 28 degrees Celsius, meaning that the fuel temperature needed to be higher.

This would be the reason that there was allegedly a danger of Red Bull getting their cars out on track, compounding the fact that they were having to fix Max Verstappen’s misbehaving rear wing.

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In the opening four rounds of the season in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Italy and Melbourne, the teams would actually have been enabled to run their cars on cooler fuel, as the air temperature was below 28.

Ferrari were the ones that ended up suffering a reliability failure when Charles Leclerc retired from the race having been leading comfortably, which is ironic if the rumours around them are to be believed.

It opened the door for Verstappen to lead home Sergio Perez for Red Bull’s second one-two of the season, after the Dutchman had recovered from a mistake early doors.

“Of course, I went off, I certainly had a lot of tailwind so I just lost the rear and went off,” he said, before lamenting his DRS issues.

“I of course I was in the train so I tried to pass but my DRS was not always working so yeah that made it very tough,” added Verstappen.

However, it was the 25 points on Sunday that counted, and he got them to take the lead of the Drivers’ Standings from Leclerc.

READ: George Russell delighted with podium after ‘survival race’ in Barcelona

“But we managed to do the strategy to get ahead again and then do our own race and eventually win the race so a difficult beginning but a good end,” added the reigning champion.

Red Bull’s maximum points haul also takes them above Ferrari and into the lead of the Constructors’ Championship by 26 points.