Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber has told the team that they need to stop throwing points away as they seek to mend their reliability issues.
The Honda-manufactured Red Bull Powertrains engines have suffered six failures this season for a variety of different reasons, leaving Max Verstappen sixth in the championship after losing out on two podiums.
Both the Dutchman and team-mate Sergio Perez retired late on in Bahrain after Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri caught fire in the same race, before Yuki Tsunoda was unable to partake in either qualifying or the race in Saudi Arabia due to oil leaks.
Verstappen was sent out of last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix while comfortably running in second place, and he described the failures in the early part of 2022 as “unacceptable.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said “I’d rather fix a fast car than try and make a reliable slow one fast,” seemingly firing a shot at Mercedes, but Webber maintains that while the RB18 is competitive, it does appear to be slower than Ferrari.
“Of course, the speed’s there,” he told Channel 4.
“They are strong but [they were] not strong enough to win the race [in Australia].”
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have, on the whole, capitalised on their rivals’ missteps so far this season with the exception of the Spaniard’s horror show in Melbourne, and the Australian affirms that the points lost by Red Bull will be difficult to claw back.
“But when you haemorrhage 18 points and maybe the fastest lap and all the rest of it, they are big points down the drain, huge points,” he added.
“And Leclerc is doubling down — another victory, another fastest lap, so it’s tricky for them. It’s a long season. Red Bull are not going anywhere in a hurry, but these points will be tricky to get back.”
The nine-time race winner between 2009 and 2012 concedes that there are “some mice in the machinery” for both Red Bull and their junior team, but emphasises that everybody at the factory will be working overtime to resolve the hindrances that have been a thorn in their side thus far in 2022.
“Also, we have to look at AlphaTauri. They had a ropey start in terms of reliability, both in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, so there are some mice in the machinery,” he explained.
“Red Bull, at Milton Keynes, they will have to work hard, of course. They are not shy of putting a shift in.”
Once again, though, Webber warns that the Ferrari championship train is showing no signs of stopping yet.
“But I tell you what, the Prancing Horse are well down the road at the moment. They have got the wind in their sails,” said the former Jaguar and Williams driver.
Mercedes have taken advantage of Red Bull’s misfortune, with Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell claiming a podium each, leaving them second in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the Milton Keynes side.